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32 MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2017 business & economy NRC suspends Lagos-Kano train service for two weeks Rasheed Bisiriyu T hE Nigeria Railway Corporation has suspended the Lagos-Kano train operations for two weeks following the collapse of the Tatabu Bridge in the Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State after a heavy rainfall, which affected the rail line. The Managing Director, NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, stated this in Lagos, adding that the two-week break was to enable the corporation to erect a temporary bridge along the affected rail track that would facilitate the movement of trains. he said the temporary bridge being moved from the Ibadan railway station would arrive at the Tatabu site today (Monday) along with other materials such as ballast and granite from Lagos for the repair work. he stated that an emergency team that would fix the problem had been assembled, with some track officers and engineers already at the site to assess the situation and begin some preliminary work. The Tatabu Bridge collapsed on June 11 after a heavy rainfall that led to the washout of some portions of the rail track. This also affected a major road linking the North to the South-West as well as some residential buildings and farmlands in the area. Okhiria said the damaged parts of the track, stretching about 300 metres, were at different spots within the area. “The cause of this disaster is not really known yet as this is being investigated; but from experience, it is usually as a result of the overflow of a dam. I don’t see the level of the downpour that can cause that damage,” he said. he put the total loss by the corporation during the shutdown of its operations in the area at N50m. According to him, the corporation has had to appeal to its customers for their understanding due to its failure to transport their Diesel price has fallen by 42%, says NNPC Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja T hE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Sunday said it had successfully crashed the pump price of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, by about 42 per cent nationwide. It described this as a huge reduction over the past six months, linking it to series of interventions by the national oil firm in the downstream oil sector. Explaining how this was achieved, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, stated that in the first quarter of this year, the retail price of AGO, which is one of the deregulated products, was N300 per litre in major demand centres across the country. “Such unpleasant situation placed a huge burden on truck drivers, who need the product to remain in business; the nation’s manufacturing sector, which requires it to run its operations; and the masses, who need it for household power generation,” he said. he, however, noted that following the various interventions by the oil firm for sustained improvement in the supply of diesel, the product’s retail price as of the end of May this year dropped to between N175 per litre and N200 per litre, a decrease of about 42 per cent, while the ex-depot price also dropped to between N135 per litre and N155 per litre. goods. Okheria said the corporation would work very hard to get the bridge ready for the Lagos-Kano train service to resume in two weeks. “We are going to construct a temporary bridge that will cost us about N5m. Some of our men, including engineers, are already at the site. The train bringing emergency materials from Lagos will arrive at the site on Monday (today) for proper work to commence,” he said. he stated that the NRC could only do a remedial work, adding that the major reconstruction of the bridge would be done later by the Ministry of Power, Works and housing in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation. Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line ready in December – Fayemi Everest Amaefule, Abuja T hE Itakpe-Ajaokuta- Warri rail line currently under construction will be ready by December, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said. Fayemi said this at the inauguration of the Development Partners and Donor Agencies’ Coordination Group on Mining in Abuja on Friday. The minister said the rail line was critical to the mining sector, because it links the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe and the Ajaokuta Steel Complex with the Warri Port. Fayemi added that the project, being handled by the Ministry of Transport, was critical to the current effort by the Federal Government to revive the Ajaokuta Steel plant and its iron feeder plant, NIOMCO. Presenting the country’s road map for the development of the solid minerals sector, the minister said the appropriate path to rebuilding the mining industry was to develop a road map for the growth and development of the minerals industry. he said the road map provided the framework for the recent decision of the World Bank to grant Nigeria $150m for the development of the solid minerals sector in the country. Fayemi stated, “Our process of developing the road map was both consultative and inclusive to enable us to meet our mandate and secure the greatest benefit for our country and for the citizens. We engaged a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the country, widely acclaimed and respected veterans of the industry, to be members of the committee to develop the road map.”