Trace Reporters –Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has congratuled President Muhammadu Buhari for the success of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line project.
This was as the company also expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for entrusting it with the construction of the project which it described as strategic and important to the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and facilities for commercial operations.
The President performed the commissioning virtually from his office in Abuja where he interfaced live with the ceremony via telecast.
Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr.Lars Richter, who was represented by a strong delegation led by the company’s Executive Director of Administration, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi, traced the history of the Itakpe–Ajaokuta–Warri railway project to 1987 when the contract for the construction of 51Km Railway line linking the Itakpe Iron Ore mine with Ajaokuta Steel Mill was awarded to Julius Berger, and was later extended to include from Ajaokuta to Warri (Aladja Steel Plant and Jetty).
The Contracts which were originally domiciled with the then Federal Ministry of Mines, Power and Steel, were eventually transferred to the Federal Ministry of Transport when the project was restructured to include transportation of passengers along Itakpe-Warri corridor in addition to the original concept of freight movement service for the steel industry.
He explained that the expanded scope of work included construction of a section of Railway formation and laying of tracks from near Agbarho to Delta Steel Mill at Ovwian/Aladja; completion of 20 overpasses and bridges; and construction of Level crossings, hydraulic drainage structures and associated works.
Bayi announced that, the 22Km track laying works from Ovu to Aladja has been completed just as the overbridges and overpasses have also been successfully accomplished.
Julius Berger also said that the completed Railway and railway service facilities include the maintenance Workshop and Warehouse; the Vehicle Maintenance depot and Workshop; the Railway Trucks Refuelling Station; First Aid Station; and the furnished Railway Station Offices
Other completed works are the renovation and refurbishment of the Railway village, comprising of School building, Clinic, Recreational facilities, Fire Station, Police Station; and other ancillary buildings.
Bayi said; “I am humbled to announce to this gathering that these structures mentioned above were constructed in accordance with international due diligence and best practice; a hallmark of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc”.
Bayi, who represented the Managing Director, Dr. Lars Richter, said he was unavoidably absent due to a pre-scheduled engagement for which he is presently outside the country.
Bayi said Dr. Richter asked him to convey his profound regrets for his absence at the event which he had earnestly looked forward to attending personally.
Bayi also extended Julius Berger’s felicitations to the “Minister of Transport and his team as well as to the Nigerian nation on this epoch-making event”. The success of the project, Bayi said, “is a clear testimony of Mr President’s resolve to provide and improve lasting infrastructural amenities which impacts positively on lives of citizens across the length and breadth of this nation”.
The Julius Berger Executive Director prayed that the end users of the facilities will put them to use with the highest maintenance culture as a guide with a view to justifying the huge investment made by the government to put up these structures and its services.
Bayi acknowledged the tremendously uncommon commitment of the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and thanked him and his great team “for his kind and selfless work as well as nationalistic zeal, by which this project has been successfully realised”.
Bayi also expressed Julius Berger’s gratitude to all the hardworking civil servants, community leaders, suppliers, youths, members of the Press, the company’s highly valuable workforce and, indeed, to every stakeholder who in one way or the other, contributed to the success of the project. He climaxed his appreciation by offering his utmost gratitude to the Almighty God whose grace and mercy, he said, enabled all stakeholders to work safely and progressively to achieve the laudable project success.
While wishing everyone who attended the ceremony a safe return to their various destinations, Bayi prayed to the Almighty to continue to unite, guide, protect and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dignitaries that attended the event include Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, his Edo counterpart, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Minister of Transportation, Hon. Amaechi Rotimi Chibuike, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN.
Also present at the event in Agbor, were traditional rulers from all across the Niger Delta region that performed the traditional Kola nut presentation, support and breaking ceremony to the excitement, admiration and applause of the large number of citizens who thronged the venue of the ceremony.
Lola Seriki Idahosa /News
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