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Lagos-Kano SGR project timeline and what you need to know

The Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line is a 2,700km railway line which will offer transport connections from the Port of Lagos to Kano, near the border with Niger. Below is the Lagos-Kano SGR project timeline and all you need to know about the project from beginning to the present date.

After Nigeria obtained its independence from Great Britain, the railway lines that were built during the colonial era fell into a state disrepair. The government of Nigeria has since decided to do something about it.

2006

The government of Nigeria awarded China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) a US $8.3bn contract to construct a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Lagos to Kano. However, due to funding problems for the entire project, the government decided to construct the railway in segments.

2011

Construction of the first segment from Abuja to Kaduna started. The 187km stretch which cost US $876m with Exim Bank of China providing US $500m and the government of Nigeria footing the balance, has since been officially inaugurated and is operational. The segment took almost 5 years to construct.

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2012

The government awarded CCECC a US $1.53bn contract for construction of the second segment which is from Lagos to Ibadan; a 156km stretch.

2017

Ground-breaking ceremony for the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) took place.

2018

Nigerian Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi signed a US $6.68bn contract with CCECC to complete the remaining segments of the project. These segments include: Ibadan-Osogbo-Ilorin (200 km), Osogbo–Ado Ekiti, Ilorin-Minna (270 km), Minna–Abuja and Kaduna-Kano (305 km).

Construction of the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) was delayed due to heavy spring rains.

2019

Construction was further delayed due to the general elections which threatened to cause unrest hence CCECC had to evacuate its Chinese employees as a precaution.

2020

In August, the Lagos State Government announced closure of Ilupeju bypass between 8:00p.m. on Wednesday and 6:00a.m. on Thursday to allow for the Modernisation Project of the Lagos-Ibadan railway with extension to Lagos Port at Apapa.

In the same month, The Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, announced the purchase of 24 coaches to operate the Lagos-Ibadan Railway which was scheduled to commence operations in September 2020.

The rail tracks on the 156km modern rail line from the Ebute Metta Junction to Ibadan were already completed while the 10 major and minor stations were at various stages of completion. The stations along the corridor include Apapa, Ebutte Metta Junction, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Olodo, Omi-Adio and Ibadan.

2021

In early April, The Minister of Transportation Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi revealed that the Federal Government (FG) has borrowed a total of about US $2.5bn towards the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project cost.

The funds were borrowed from the Export-Import Bank of China, one of three institutional banks in the East Asian country chartered to implement the state policies in the industry, foreign trade, economy, and foreign aid to other developing countries, and provide policy financial support so as to promote the export of Chinese products and services.

The Lagos-Ibadan line is a double-track standard gauge rail, the first of its kind in the West Africa region. It runs from Nigeria’s economic hub and most populous city, Lagos, to Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, with a total of 10 stations.

With trains operating at a maximum speed of 150 km/h, the infrastructure according to the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCEC), cut the travel time between the two cities to two hours.

The Minister explained that the Federal Government made a decision to borrow US$ 2.5bn towards Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project cost, which was not part of the original plan, to extend the rail line to the nation’s seaports for “the economic benefit associated with it”.

“We had to take about 45km rail from Ebute-Metta into Apapa seaport. There is an additional one connecting Tincan Island Seaport to Apapa,” he explained.

In late May, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amechi, announced that works on the Kano–Kaduna angle of the Lagos–Kano SGR project will kick off by July, 2021.

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Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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