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1,000 companies compete for 12 rail projects

By News Desk,

More than 1,000 contractors are participating in the bids for 12 projects advertised by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).

The corporation has opened the bids to pre-qualify the contractors for the 2018 projects.

Mr Ben Iloanusi, the NRC Director of Procurement, told the newsmen during pre-qualification exercise at the NRC headquarters, Ebute Meta, Lagos, on Wednesday.

Iloanusi said about 1,000 submissions were received across the various categories.

“The projects numbering 12 as advertised recently by the corporation in some national dailies attracted over 1,000 companies.

“The projects included emergency repair and maintenance of tracks, bridges and culvert, renovation.

“Also inclusive are upgrade of railway stations nationwide, procurement of locomotives, coaches, wagons, railway inspection vehicles and cranes, rehabilitation of locomotives and coaches.

“Others are procurement, rehabilitation and installation of equipment for mechanical, electrical, security, printing and ICT facilities; procurement of rolling stock consumables and spare parts and provision of insurance services,” he said.

The director further disclosed that the exercise may be concluded by the end of October as the procurement team had been directed to conclude the evaluation process in one month.

Niyi Ali, the Director of Operations, promised that the process would be transparent, saying the corporation will be fair to all in the pre-qualification and selection stages.

About N12 billion was approved by the Federal Government for the corporation’s projects in the 2018 budget.

Representatives of the various companies were on ground as the team verified the documents submitted by them amid tight security.

How cameras helped Zambia reduce traffic violations

By News Desk,

Compliance levels to road traffic rules have gone up in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, after the installation of roadside cameras on some selected roads, the country’s road safety agency said on Monday.

The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) said it had recorded a significant increase in speed limit compliance since the introduction of the road safety management system in July.

In a statement, the agency said compliance levels have gone up to about 90 per cent in the last one month of operating the system while infringements on traffic rules have significantly reduced.

“We urge all Zambian vehicle owners to follow speed regulations, ensure vehicles are roadworthy and observe all traffic rules,” the statement said.

The installation of cameras in other roads across the country is underway, it added.

According to the agency, about 85 per cent of road accidents in the country are caused by human errors such as drunk-driving, speeding, and use of cell phones while driving.

Government figures show a 280 per cent jump in vehicle ownership in 10 years, reaching 700,000 in 2016.

Road fatalities surged from 10 per 100,000 inhabitants to 13.8 per 100,000 inhabitants during the same period.

FRSC tasks drivers on regular eye test

By News Desk,

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Sector Commander, Plateau Command, Pat Emeordi, has advised commercial drivers and other motorists to go for regular eye test to know the status of their sights.

Emeordi gave the advice at a sensitisation rally organised for commercial drivers in Yandoya Motor Park, Jos on Friday.

She attributed some road crashes to sight defects, hence, the need for drivers to constantly check their sights.

“Records have shown that poor sight has greatly contributed to some of the accidents on our highways.

“So, at every opportunity, we encourage drivers and indeed all motorists to go for regular eye checks so as to avoid any ugly occurrence.

“Once your sight is sharp, the tendency of averting a crash while plying highway is high,” she said.

Emeordi stressed the need for drivers to obey traffic rules and regulations and desist from acts capable of causing carnage on the highway.

Stephen Akintola, Secretary, Plateau Chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who spoke, thanked the command for the awareness and admonished drivers to heed to the FRSC’s advice.

Highlights of the event include blood pressure and vision acuity tests at no cost to some motoring public.

10 die in Kaduna-Kano road accident

By News Desk,

No fewer than 10 people are reported to have died in an accident that occurred on Kaduna-Kano expressway on Saturday.

The accident occurred around Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria, at about 5:30 a.m.

The Head of Public Enlightenment, Zaria Unit Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Idris Yahaya, confirmed the accident and casualty.

Yahaya said that the “pathetic’’ accident involved three vehicles, a luxury bus; a car; and an articulated vehicle.

“There are 48 persons in the three vehicles; nine people got burnt to death, while one other woman died in the hospital, 31 persons were injured while seven persons survived the accident.

The driver of the luxury bus is receiving treatment at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Zaria.’’

The unit commander said that the injured persons were also receiving treatment at the hospital, while the bodies of the dead had been deposited at the same hospital.

He called on drivers traveling long distance to exhibit the habit of stretching their legs by stopping and walking around for a while after four hours of journey.

“When a driver covers a distance of three to four hours, he should stop, relax and stretch his legs to clear the fatigue and carry on with the journey later.

“Drivers should also drive with care, especially in this rainy season; they should ensure that their tyres are good enough for a long journey; and driving with smooth and fairly-used tyres is very dangerous,’’ he advised the drivers.

10 injure in another Otedola Bridge accident

By News Desk,

Following Thursday’s tanker explosion on the Otedola Bridge which led to loss of lives, a fresh accident has occurred along the Otedola Bridge axis of Berger in Lagos, barely 24 hours after a tanker exploded around the same spot on Thursday.

According to the Lagos Rapid Response Squad (RRS), two vehicles, a commercial bus and a Toyota Hiace collided inward Lagos, opposite the scene of Thursday’s accident.

The RRS said the incident was as a result of reckless driving on the part of the commercial bus driver who was going at a high speed against the traffic.

“Reckless Danfo driver speeding on 1 way had a head-on collision with Toyota Hiace bus entering Lagos opposite scene of yesterday’s tanker fire. The buses have been moved from obstruction while wounded passengers hospitalised”.

Details later….


Nine die, four injure after fuel tanker explodes in Lagos

By News Desk,

At least, nine people were reported to have died during a fuel tanker explosion which occurred on Otedola Bridge outward Lagos on Thursday evening.

As gathered, the explosion that claimed the nine lives, occurred after tanker, heading outward Lagos, crash on developing mechanical fault, causing panic.

However, the Federal Road Safety Corps spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem, disclosed that nine people died during the incident, while four victims sustained injury, and that 54 vehicles got burnt.

He added that rescue operations were still ongoing.

The incident has led all mode of transportation along the road to be at a standstill as emergency officials at the scene fighting the blaze and attending to affected victims in order to prevent further fire incidents in the area.

As at time of this report, no casualty had been reported by the authorities.

In the information released on the social media account of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), “A tanker which had break failure loaded with PMS caught fire on the Otedola Bridge INW Berger. The number of vehicles affected is 20+, Traffic Situation is @ a stand still, all alternative routes advised ATM”

A fuel tanker caught fire on Otedola Bridge outward Lagos on Thursday evening, with many vehicles trapped in the growing fire.

Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and Lagos Fire Service have been mobilised, reports the rapid Response Squad via its Twitter handle, @rrslagos767.

The RRS said its men were “on ground to manage the situation.”

LASEMA officials and other government agents were seen with body bags, confirming fears that many road users may have died in the incident.

The fire was brought under control about an hour after the outbreak, as men of the Lagos State Fire Service tackled it.

The fire involved a fuel tanker and about 30 vehicles.

The Federal Road Safety Corps confirmed the story, even as it warned road users to avoid the scene of the inferno.

As of the time of filing this report, tens of vehicles were caught in the inferno, and many are feared dead.

Reports add that the traffic backlog as a result of the explosion extends as far back as the Third Mainland Bridge, backing up to the UNILAG water-front.


Osinbajo visits collapsed Mokwa-Jebba bridge, promises repair within two weeks

By Newsdesk

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo hasd visited the collapsed Mokwa-Jebba Bridge in Niger State for on-the-spot assessment of the damage and promised that the bridge would be repair within two weeks.

Osinbajo, who was accompanied by the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said during the visit on Monday that the Federal Government would soon rehabilitate the collapsed bridge, Tatabu in Mokwa Council Area linking Northern and Western parts of the country.

The bridge collapsed last month, as a result of flood at Tatabu village in Mokwa Local Government Area of the state.

The acting president, who advised motorists plying the road to exercise patience, described the incident as unfortunate, addinmg that the construction of an alternative bridge would be completed within 14 days to ease movement of traders and goods.

“We have come here to look at the bridge because this road is very important to us as a government and this axis is very important to motorists and the country. The Federal Government will make sure that the collapsed bridges along Tegina/Mokwa and Jebba/Mokwa roads are done immediately and all repairs on the roads are done. We commend your patience and want you to continue to be patient with us, very shortly, the bridge will be completed within a forth night,’’ he said.

Osinbajo stated that adequate personnel had been mobilised to ensure quick completion of the collapsed bridges.

“We are working on the two bridges as emergency and everybody is fully mobilised; government is committed to maintenance of all roads across the country,’’ he added.

He, however, cautioned motorists against loading their vehicles above the approved road standard of 35 tonnes per vehicle.

Similarly, Abubakar  commended motorists for their patience, and appealed to the Federal Government to rehabilitate all federal roads in the state to reduce sufferings of road users.

18 die, 31 injure in Germany after tour bus collides with truck

By NewsDesk with agency report

The German police has reported that at least 18 people were killed and 31 others injured when a tour bus burst into flames after it collided with a trailer truck in southern Germany.

It reported that the incident occurred early on Monday when a bus carrying 46 passengers and two drivers rammed into the trailer on a motorway near town of Muenchberg in Germany’s southeastern state of Bavaria.

According to the police, there were 48 tourist pensioners, mainly from the eastern state of Saxony on the bus and they were aged between 41 and 81.

“It’s clear now that all 18 of the missing people on the bus died in the accident,” police said on Twitter.

Sources said that the bus was transporting a group of tourists from Saxony state in eastern Germany to Nuremberg city in northern Bavaria.

They narrated that the crash led to closure of the A9 highway in both directions and the deployment of some 200 emergency workers to the site, including firefighters, rescue workers and police.

German officials said that emergency workers had so far retrieved 11 bodies from the bus wreck and work was underway to find another seven killed in the incident.

The German Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt, explained that the flames that engulfed the bus were so strong that only steel parts are still recognisable on the bus.

Television images showed only the charred skeleton of the vehicle remaining.

Expressing sympathy with the injured and bereaved relatives, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, voiced great dismay over the crash, just as the passed her condolences to the victims and their family members.

“We hope that those who have been rescued will recover from their injuries,” Merkel said through her spokesperson.

The Monday accident at the start of the summer holiday season was one of the worst to hit Germany.

In one of the deadliest incidents, 13 people lost their lives in June 2007 when their tour bus crashed in the eastern German state of Saxony.

Amaechi denies excluding South East from rail projects

By Newsdesk

The Federal Ministry of Transportation has denied the allegation that it purposely excluded the South East from the on-going rail project of the Federal Government.

According to the Ministry, the South-East zone had not been excluded from the Federal Government’s on-going rail projects.

Amaechi made the denial on Friday in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Transportation’s Director of Public Relations, Yetunde Sonaike.

According to Sonaike, the ministry was embarking on two major rail projects in the country.

She said that the ongoing rail projects were the Coastal Rail Project from Lagos-Calabar and the Lagos-Kano rail lines.

“The Federal Ministry of Transportation wishes to state clearly that the South-East geopolitical zone has not been excluded from the Federal Government ongoing rail projects. The two major rail projects of the Federal Government are the Coastal Rail Project from Lagos-Calabar, which traverse Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin City-Sapele-Warri-Yenogoa,” the statement reads.“

“With siding to Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar and branch line from Benin City Abudu-Onitsha, including Onitsha Rail Bridge.“Lagos-Kano rail project will traverse Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Oshogbo-Ilorin-Jebba-Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano, with branch line from Minna-Abuja and Abuja-Kaduna, “ the statement added

According to the spokesperson, the loan from China Exim Bank would be used to fund the three segments from the two major rail projects which were Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Kaduna and Lagos- Kano.

“The Federal Ministry of Transportation wishes to state categorically that the loan from China Exim Bank will be used to fund the following three segments from the two major rail projects. Lagos-Ibadan, from Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan with extension to Apapa Port Complex with the segment two of Lagos-Kano,” she said

“Kano-Kaduna, segment 3A of Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Port Harcourt, which will pass through Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar with extension to Onne Deep Sea Port. She said that the Federal Government rail project touches various sections of the country and therefore no section would be left out,”Sonaike said.

The director stressed that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remain committed in reviving the rail infrastructure.

“The rail project is aimed at fast- tracking economic diversification as well as optimising the Federal Government’s change agenda in the transportation sector which will serve as an economic index for growth and development,” she said.


Tesla delivers new 25,000 electric vehicles record in Q1

By Newsdesk with Agency Reports

The United State luxury electric car maker, Tesla, said on Thursday that its first-quarter vehicle deliveries has jumped by 69 per cent from a year ago to a quarterly record of 25,000 vehicles, bouncing back from delays in the previous quarter.

The company said in a statement that out of the total vehicles delivered, about 13,450 were Model S sedan and about 11,550 were Model X sports utility vehicle.

Tesla has said it expects to deliver 47,000 to 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles combined in the first half of 2017.

In the fourth quarter, deliveries had fallen 9.4 per cent due to short-term production hurdles from the transition to a new autopilot hardware.

The statement further quoted Tesla as saying production challenges, which started at the end of October and lasted until early December, shifted vehicle production towards the end of the fourth quarter, resulting in delayed deliveries.

Ultimately, about 2,750 vehicles were missed being counted as deliveries in the fourth quarter either due to last-minute delays in transport or because the customer was unable to physically take delivery.

In addition to the first quarter deliveries, about 4,650 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter and will be counted as deliveries in the second quarter, Tesla said in a statement.

Production in the first quarter also hit a quarterly record at 25,418 vehicles.

Tesla Chief Executive, Elon Musk, has taken big risks repeatedly since going public in 2010, but investors got spooked after he said in February the electric car company could get “close to the edge” as it burns cash ahead of its crucial Model 3 launch.