basically, what it is is that the British ruled the Niger Area ( now called Nigeria ) for very, very many years. in that period, the British put in place some infrastructure(s) that facilitated their economic, financial, commercial and other domination and control of the area. the Railway network in Nigeria is one of such infrastructure(s).

Nigeria inherited what is now known as the Nigerian Railways from the British Colonial Rulers of Nigeria i.e the British Colonial Administrators of Nigeria when Britain granted Nigeria the Nigeria desire to rule itself in 1960.

( you may wish to google stuff like : Nigeria under British Rule, the British Colonial Era in Nigeria, Nigeria in British West Africa, etc to get some insight into this era of Nigeria’s life / existence before October 1, 1960. )

Nigeria uptil date January 2021 hasn’t developed the Nigerian Railway infrastructure much beyond what it was in the 1960s. and the essential back-bone and core component of the Nigerian Railways uptil date January 2021 is the NARROW GUAGE RAIL TRACK built across Nigeria during the British Colonial Era and in the 1960s.

Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) - Invitation For  Pre-Qualification/Expression Of Interest (EOI) For The Implementation Of  2020 Procurement Activities – Extension Of Time - Nigeria Business  Information

there have been one or two efforts here and there, mostly in the 2000 A.D to 2021 A.D period to add some STANDARD GUAGE RAIL TRACKS to the existing Railway Network infrastructure, however, the core component and majority component of the Nigeria Railway infrastructure still remains the NARROW GUAGE RAIL TRACK built by the British and somewhat added to later after 1960.

( you may wish to google stuff like : the history of the Nigerian Railways, etc to get some insight into this. )

if you take a look at the map of the railway tracks in Nigeria, you will see that it essentially consists of an inverted Y i.e with one of the arms of the inverted Y coming from the South-East and South-South ( East ) area of Nigeria and the other arm of the Y coming from the South-West area of Nigeria.

the arm of the inverted Y coming from the South-East and South-South ( East ) area of Nigeria essentially comes from places like Enugu, Aba, Port-Harcourt i.e Igbo-land / Ibo-land and it’s riverine area neighbours.

the arm of the inverted Y coming from the South-West area of Nigeria essentially comes from places like Ibadan, Lagos i.e Yoruba-land.

the 2 arms of the inverted Y do not meet anywhere in the Southern Nigeria area.  

where they meet is in Northern Nigeria.

if my memory serves correctly, they meet at a place called Kaduna which is essentially in the far North area i.e in the core North Area i.e in an area generally seen in Southern Nigeria as core Hausa-land Nigeria / Fulani-land area of Nigeria although maps make mention of Gbari and Kambari tribes in that area.

( i guess we cross-check this and check the actual area where they meet using google )

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and from that point where they meet in Kaduna in the core Northern Nigeria area ( as distinct from the Middle-Belt Nigeria area ) the rail track goes on up North and branches out to Kaura Namoda and Nguru with Kano being a Railway station en-route the Kaduna to Nguru rail track

New technology, better economy? The heterogeneous impact of colonial  railroads in Nigeria - ScienceDirect

although it is to be noted that the arm of the inverted Y coming from the South-East and South-South ( East ) area at some point in the Northern Nigeria area ( at Kafanchan? ) before getting to Kaduna meeting point with the arm of the inverted Y coming from South-West Nigeria branches out towards Jos and Maiduguri.

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what that existing rail track infrastructure meant in the 1960s i.e from 1960 to 1969 was that if you were in Enugu, Aba or Port-Harcourt i.e in South-East and South-South ( East ) Nigeria and you wanted to go to Ibadan or Lagos by rail you would have to travel up to Northern Nigeria as far as Kaduna in the core Northern Nigeria area before coming down in the direction of South-West Nigeria to get to your destination of Ibadan or Lagos.

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and it also meant in the 1960s i.e from 1960 to 1969 was that if you were in Lagos or Ibadan i.e in South-West Nigeria and you wanted to go to Enugu or Aba or Port-Harcourt by rail you would have to travel up to Northern Nigeria as far as Kaduna in the core Northern Nigeria before coming down in the direction of South-East and South-South ( East ) Nigeria to get to your destination of Enugu or Aba or Port-Harcourt.

Nigeria: In the current face off, cows' right of way, may cause the mother  of all wars – The Nation on Sunday/Tatálọ̀ Àlàmúemotanafricana.com

and that trip if i remember correctly was not ( and is still not? as at January 2021 ) a 1 day trip.
it used to take at least 2 days, if my memory serves correctly.
one day to get up North .. as far as the Kaduna area or so.
and the other day to get back down South .. to wherever you where headed in Southern Nigeria on the other side of the River Niger.

this was unlike a trip by road where, for example, you could head out of Onitsha in the Igbo-land Nigeria /  Ibo-land Nigeria Area  to Lagos in the Yoruba-land Nigeria Area by road and in 6 hours you are in Lagos.

( in fact, this is as at date January 2021, unlike a trip by road where, for example, you can head out of Onitsha in the Igbo-land Nigeria / Ibo-land Nigeria Area  to Lagos in the Yoruba-land Nigeria Area by road and in 6 hours you are in Lagos )

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this was unlike a trip by road where for example you could ( and can ) head out of Lagos in the Yoruba-land Nigeria Area to Onitsha in the Igbo-land Nigeria /  Ibo-land Nigeria Area by road and in 6 hours you are in Onitsha.

( in fact, this is as at date January 2021, unlike a trip by road where for example you can head out of Lagos in the Yoruba-land Nigeria Area to Onitsha in the Igbo-land Nigeria /  Ibo-land Nigeria Area by road and in 6 hours you are in Onitsha. )

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according to rumours,
sometime in the 1970s .. maybe 1976? or 1977? Or 1978? .. one gentleman who was at that time the General Manager ( and therefore the de facto Chief Executive Officer i.e CEO ) of the Nigerian Railway Corporation took a look at this at decided to do something about it.

this gentleman decided that the Nigeria Railways would build a rail track DIRECTLY LINKING Yoruba-land Nigeria and Igbo-land / Ibo-land Nigeria plus South-South ( East ) Nigeria without any need to go up to anywhere in Northern Nigeria before getting to your destination.

the name of this gentleman was ENGINEER THEO NZEGWU.
he hailed from i.e he was a native of Onitsha in the South-East / Igbo-land / Ibo-land area of Nigeria and had been trained to become an Engineer under the British and had studied in the United Kingdom ( i.e the U.K. )

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By sam

Samuel Ojekwe is essentially just your basic everyday fellow that you see in your neighbourhood while you go about doing your stuff and who, like you, wishes and hopes that the world becomes a better place for all of us.

25 thoughts on “that rumour back in the day that an EFFORT to BUILD a RAILWAY LINE DIRECTLY LINKING LAGOS, IBADAN, etc ( i.e YORUBA-LAND ) to ONITSHA, ENUGU, CALABAR, EKET, PORT-HARCOURT, etc ( i.e IGBO-LAND / IBO-LAND and it’s RIVERINE AREA NEIGHBOURS ) was DELIBERATELY STOPPED”
  1. Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post
    reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have
    a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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