PHOTO: NetworkRail

The Federal Government has concluded plans to train qualified candidates on rail engineering in China for five years.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, S. Zakari, in a letter to the Minister of Trade, Investment and Industry, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the government is seeking for nomination of suitable candidates for training as railway engineer in China.

It would be recalled that local contractors have been excluded from $20 billion rail projects by the government, which triggered concerns from stakeholders.

There are a number of other rail projects, 98 per cent of which were awarded to Chinese firms. They include: Kano State rail, $1.85 billion; Lagos Blue Line light rail, $1.2 billion; Lagos monorail, $1billion; and Abuja light rail, $841.64 million. Ogun and Oyo states are also working on some rail projects.

Going by this offer, the candidates upon completion of course would be beneficial to the railway revolution projects being undertaken by the Federal Government.

They would be instrumental to repair and maintenance of railways in the country especially the Lagos-Ibadan modern gauge, which the government is keen on completing by December this year.

The candidates are to undergo a five-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Railway Engineering training who must be within the ages of 17 to 20 years.

Interview for the candidates is expected to be conducted from tomorrow till Saturday 23 by 9am prompt at the CCECC Nigeria Limited headquarters along airport road, Abuja.

The candidates according to the letter, on return from the course are bonded and expected to report and work under the instructions of the Ministry of Transportation.

Experts had earlier insisted that Nigerians have the capacity to handle key aspects of the projects, especially laying of tracks, survey and design.

They also expressed the fear that Nigeria would end up becoming a dumping ground for rail contractors engaged just to provide infrastructure without adequate manpower to operate and maintain it.