By Adaku Onyenucheya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and the Bayelsa State Government are set to resuscitate the century-old railway foundry in Lagos.
This was revealed when the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, in the company of the Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria, and other senior executives of both organisations inspected the foundry located within the NRC complex in Ebute Metta.
Jamoh lamented that the foundry, which was established by the colonial administration four years after the railway was founded to serve as spare parts support, went comatose in the late 1980s.
He said the current effort at resuscitating the facility will, no doubt, help in the infrastructural drive of the country, develop local capacity and generate income.
He added that the foundry will also create several jobs with spare parts for ship building and repairs, thereby conserving foreign exchange for the country.
Jamoh said the move to resuscitate the foundry came up during his recent presentation to the Federal Executive Council to get approval to commence the removal of wrecks from the country’s territorial waters.
He said: “If we remove wrecks holistically as we proposed, we need to make provision for where they will be kept and how we can recycle them for economic benefits. That’s why I spoke with the MD of the NRC and Bayelsa State Government, which had earlier indicated an interest in wreck recycling, as well as a technical partner from South Africa.”
Jamoh noted that not only the wrecks but other damaged iron-based components and metals such as scrapped cars and machinery would be recycled at the foundry.
On his part, Okhiria pledged the NRC’s support to NIMASA, adding that the company would make the project successful leveraging its new technologies.
Okhiria said Nigeria would benefit from knowledge transfer, especially for students of tertiary institutions doing their industrial training.
He said it would also save the time it takes to bring in metals from abroad, adding that some of its locomotives require parts from abroad and that the Corporation waits for as long as seven months to get the parts.
The NRC MD further noted: “Apart from providing this space we will be patronizing them for parts. We are a ready market and will be major patronisers for their outputs because our locomotives and coaches are all made of iron. The market will extend beyond Nigeria to the West African sub-region.”