The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says the country stands the chance of developing technology in the next 10 years for the construction of rail lines without any foreign intervention.
Amaechi, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said this was possible following the level of infrastructure being put in place in the rail sector by the Federal Government.
He said the ministry would ensure a systemic transfer and localisation of rail technology by the major Contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), to qualified Nigerian engineers.
The minister reiterated that the Federal Government had just awarded a N500 million dollar contract to CCECC to supply rolling stocks, build locomotive and wagon factories in the country.
He said this would help facilitate and boost the eventual transfer and localisation of the technology.
According to Amaechi, when the Kajola Rail Wagon factory in Ogun begins full operations, CCECC will be able to assemble wagons and produce rolling stock locally.
He explained that the proposed Transportation University by the Federal Government in Daura, Katsina State, would produce transport experts who would be able to create rail technology and maintain the rail lines in the country.
“The wagon factory in Kajola, Ogun, in a way is localisation of railway technology but beyond that, by Dec. 2, we will lay the foundation of Transportation University which is being handled by CCECC.
”And the course of study at the university is to teach Nigerians railway technology, that is one step in localising the railway technology.
“We also intend to build the sleepers factory in Kaduna or Zaria, that is another way of localising the technology; so all we are trying to do is for the Chinese to transfer the technology back to Nigerians.
”This will ensure that in the next five years, maintenance of rail will be done by Nigerians and we are hoping that in the next 10 years, Nigeria should be able to construct its own rail lines,” Amaechi said.
On waterways security, Amaechi said the Federal Government had awarded a 195 million dollar contract to launch security equipment on the waters to protect vessels and those who used the waterways.
He said that a combined team of the Nigerian Army, the police, air force and navy were already undergoing some training on the use of the equipment.
Amaechi also reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to infrastructure development that would create numerous jobs and lift Nigerians from extreme poverty to prosperity.