An Evaluation of Railway Infrastructural Development in Nigeira

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Oni, S. I
Okanlawon, K. R
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A virile rail transportation system plays a significant role in the sectoral development and overall growth of any economy. There have been significant changes in railway systems throughout the world There have been considerable modernizing and updating of equipment to enable railways fulfill their role more effectively. However, in Nigeria, rail transport has had a stunted growth over the past 100 years when compared to railways in the developed world. There has been a continuous decline in its performance over the years with attendant operating deficits in its accounts. Almost five decades after independence, the Nigerian railway system remains static in structure and is highly unresponsive to the emerging socio-economic and political challenges. Hence the railway system no longer exerts a strong influence nor plays a competitive role in modern Nigeria. This paper aims at evaluating railway infrastructural development in Nigeria. Thus, the paper examines the historical development of Nigerian railways and discloses the efforts made at revitalizing the Nigerian railway system. It also reveals the infrastructural deficiencies of Nigerian railway by analysing the volume of passenger and freight traffic carried by the Nigerian Railway Corporation from 1959-2009 and showing the sections of Nigerian rail track overdue for renewal. Data were obtained through secondary sources coupled with review of literature. This paper reveals that within the last 50 years, the highest number of passengers carried was 15.6 million in 1984 while the lowest was 0.7million in 2006. The maximum tonnage of freight hauled was 3,003,000tonnes in 1961/62 while the minimum was 36,758 tonnes in 2007. Hence, there is the need for urgent revitalization of railway system in Nigeria for economic transformation and integrated national development.
Transportation , Railway , Economic growth , Political challenges , Infrastructural development , National development
Oni, S. I and Okanlawon, K. R. (2011). An evaluation of railway infrastructural development in Nigeria. Paper presented at the 53rd Annual Conference tagged LASU-EKO ANG 2011, Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeira