OFFA AND ILORIN RAIL TRANSPORT
The Nigerian Railway Corporation traces its history to the year 1898, when the first railroad in Nigeria was constructed by the British colonial government. On October 3, 1912 the Lagos Government Railway and the Baro-Kano Railway were amalgamated, starting nationwide rail service under the name Government Department of Railways.
Ilorin is located 8°30′N 4°33′E, while the present day of Offa is located in South-East of Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State of Nigeria. The town is situated on longitude 5°0E and latitude 8°0N. It is about 56 kilometers from the state capital. It is also situated on 215 miles (344km) on the South/ North (SN) rail line from Lagos. It is regarded geographically as a “gap town” and has always been a major Railway Deport Station. Offa is regarded as a gateway to the old Northern Region of Nigeria. After the construction official commissioning of railway between Offa and Jebba took place in 1923. It is important to state here that administrative offices were commissioned in 1944 as terminus and it is known as Sub-district Headquarters, Ibadan is a District headquarters. However, the mini station within Offa areas are Inisha, Okuku, Erin-Ile and Ijagbo all the stations are known as wayside station till today. Interestingly, Ilorin is also regarded as wayside station. The capacity of the office in Offa accommodated both civil operational and mechanical officials.
The construction of a railway line up to Offa in 1912 was part of the plan to facilitate the legitimate trade and connect the interior part of the country. It became a mode of transport to evacuate large quantities of agricultural produce from the interior to the coast for onward transfer to the Western world. The railway system also became the only powerful means of communication to indigenous people in what became Nigeria. Further development of rail transport from Lagos to other areas from 1901 led to the construction of railway system in Offa. Indeed, the construction of rail tracks up to Offa brought rapid development to the people as the first Terminus was built in Offa after Ibadan and was regarded as a Sub-district, while Ibadan Terminus was known as District. Offa became the administrative headquarters for Oshogbo and Ilorin which are both state capitals in Nigeria today. In 1904, official sanction was given for the commencement of a rail road linking Ibadan with Osogbo and Ilorin and in 1907, it was approved to begin construction from Ilorin to Jebba.
Kwara State Transport Corporation (KWSTC-“Kwara Express) was established February 11, 1988 and is fully owned by Kwara State Government, while being managed by Harmony Holdings Limited (the investment Company of Kwara State Government). The Corporation focuses primarily on intercity and intracity ground passenger transportation.
A clear departure from other government –owned transportation services, Kwara Express is run professionally and efficiently, thereby guaranteeing excellent services to its customers. Well-maintained fleet of vehicles
Conservative, but reliable, Kwara Express boasts of a heritage of consistency and politeness, which continues to make it the means of transportation of choice. In 2012, the Corporation accounted for an average of 366,000 passengers (with an average of 30,500 passengers per month).
Kwara Express Head Office and flagship loading terminal is located at Offa Road Ilorin, Kwara State, while it currently operates on 21 interstate and 13 intra- state routes across Nigeria.