The national railroad operator in South Korea, Korea Railroad Corporation, has commenced a discussion with the Nigerian Railway Corporation on the construction of a new railway system in Nigeria.
Already, Korail, as the Korean firm is called, has sent a proposal to the NRC for the building and maintenance of the railway system.
The Korean delegation led by the Director-General, Korail, Mr. Jong Chul Won, presented the proposal on Friday during a meeting with the Nigerian team at the NRC head office in Lagos.
A statement obtained by our correspondent on Friday indicated that the meeting between the two railway corporations lasted about two hours.
In his presentation, Project Manager of Korail, Mr. Kwang Ho Choi said the firm was prepared to give Nigeria a world-class railway.
He stressed that the deal would be mutually beneficial to both countries, adding Korail would help to standardise the nation’s maintenance culture as it was currently doing in countries such as Chile, Philippines and the United States.
Kwang said Korail would also help in the area of personnel training through its Koica programme.
“Through Koica, we will set up a railway training school in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. We have submitted a first proposal and there will also be contact from the Korean government to the Nigerian government. This, we believe, will create employment on approval,” he said.
According to him, Korail has affiliations with countries such as France, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, Argentina and Cambodia.
Kwang explained that Korail operates passenger and freight trains throughout South Korea, besides being a railway construction company.
He said the Korean firm, in its 114th years of operations, had built a reputation on railway service punctuality and safety. “With experiences gathered since 1809 when the Korean railways started operations, it has made communications with customers a priority on long distances, intercity services and freight rail service. Our metro services, capable of moving three million people with an average of 289 trips daily, are among the best in the world with rolling stock of both diesel and electronic engines,” he said.
In his reaction, the NRC’s representative, Aminu Gusau, told the visiting Korean firm the management of the corporation would consider its option and standards and get back to it.
According to him, the NRC has a way of dealing with partners most especially on issues that have to do with the future of the Nigerian people.
He promised the Korean delegation led by the Director-General, Korail, Mr. Jong Chul Won, that Korail’s proposal would be looked into appropriately.
Facilitator of the meeting, the Managing Director Netzone Engineering, Henry Owonka, said Nigeria at this time deserved a world-class railway system.
He expressed the hope that the Korean firm would use its expertise to expedite the Nigeria’s railway reform embarked upon by the Federal Government.