Urges Host Community to Support Project
By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Ogun: It was jubilation on Saturday, November 9, 2019 when the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo rode on the train from Iju in Lagos state to Kajola in Ogun state, to perform the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant, with capacity to produce 500 wagons per year.
Indigenes of Ogun state trooped out in their numbers to welcome the Vice President to the epoch-making occasion, and to see the beginning of a project which when completed, would generate about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and in the long run, see Nigeria manufacturing rolling stock for Nigerian use and for other African countries.
Speaking at the Ceremony, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, said the plant is expected to produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kaduna rail lines, but also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West African sub-region.
He emphasized that with linking the ports to rail lines and now, building the rolling stock locally, import and export of business within, into and out of Africa’s largest market will never be the same
According to him, “The plant which is a private investment to be undertaken by Messers CCECC, is central in the production of rolling stock needed for the railway modernization program being implemented by this administration.
“This ceremony is not just another event, it is a historic turning point. For us, the railway is not only an alternative and comfortable mode of travel, it holds the master-key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent”.
The VP also noted that the siting of the plant in Nigeria and the commitment to hiring Nigerians and Nigerian businesses, affirms the President’s directives in Executive Order 5, on prioritizing Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in the innovation, production and procurement of Engineering projects and services.
The plant he stated, would offer an important platform for engineers, technicians, artisans and other professionals to gain the specialized skills required for the production and maintenance of rolling stock.
Speaking specifically to the contractors, he said, “I have a message from the President and this is to CCECC which is that, we expect that you move on very quickly to the next phase of this project which is the assembling and construction of coaches and locomotives.
“This for us will be a significant breakthrough and we look forward to hearing from you as quickly as possible when this will come into operation,” he remarked.
While appreciating the support shown by the leadership of the host communities and other relevant federal and state government stakeholders in the implementation of Federal projects, he tasked the host communities to continue to support government efforts by effectively cooperating with the contractors in safeguarding and protecting the lasting investments.
For his part, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, said the Ministry of Transportation realising the need of the advantage to set up this type of plant considering the potential need in view of the ongoing rail projects in the country and the sub-region, encouraged CCECC to establish this plant.
He reiterated, that the plant, is expected to generate job opportunities for Nigerians and as well facilitate the much-desired objective of the government towards the local content capacity development.
In his words, “It was in the pursuit of these objectives that the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed an agreement with Messrs. CCECC Nig. Limited in March, 2018 to establish this plant for the production and assembling of rolling stock, spare parts and maintenance equipment in Nigeria.
“Consequently, Messrs. CCECC conducted a feasibility study in which the choice of Kajola, Ogun State was arrived at as a suitable location for the project. This project is therefore a direct investment of Messrs. CCECC Nig. Ltd in the country and would remain as part of the gains from the contract signed for the Supply of rolling stock.
“This will be the first of its kind in Nigeria. The plant will help Nigeria conserve the much-needed foreign exchange which can be deployed to other areas of development, he emphasized
The Minister added that the sustainability of the railway modernization projects would depend on Nigeria’s ability to develop local capacity to construct, maintain and manage her new railway system.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of CCECC Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jiang Yigao, said CCECC was impressed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for their determination and efforts on modernizing the railway, and so commits to spare no effort to cooperate with the Nigerian government.
“Today, the construction of the wagon assembly plant will open a new chapter of railway construction in Nigeria, which will help Nigeria speed up the railway industrialization chain. CCECC will continue to partner with Nigeria in ensuring the technological development of the country”, he said.
It is pertinent to noted that the plant has the capacity to produce 500 wagons per year and will undertake key production processes like welding, assembly, painting, drying and testing.
It also has the capacity to produce open container, flat tank and box wagons.