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FG To Begin Construction Of Four New Rail Line Projects

In addition to the ongoing railway projects in the country, the Federal Government is about to begin the construction of four new rail line projects across the nation.

The Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this in Abuja at the 2020 edition of Annual Ministerial Press Briefing on landmark programmes, projects and activities of the ministry and agencies.

Amaechi said that funds for some of the projects have already been obtained and now waiting for cabinet approval for work to commence.

“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan-Kano, we are waiting for fund from China, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, we have a bit of the fund, but we are waiting for the cabinet to approve. We are also about to start Kano-Maradi, and Lagos-Calabar rail lines. But, one thing that is unique in all these projects is that the President earlier in his government directed that all rail lines must terminate at the Seaports. There is a bit of adjustments in the pricing because we had to adjust Kano-Maradi to link up to kano-Lagos so that it will terminate at Lagos seaport. The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri is not only terminating at Port Harcourt seaport, it is going from Port Harcourt seaport to Bonny, we are building a deep seaport” he said.

Amaechi said the 185.5km Lagos-Ibadan double standard guage line with extension to Apapa seaport is near completion level, while the 186km Abuja-Kaduna and 302km Warri-Itakpe standard guage lines had been completed and were functional.

The Minister said that the Itakpe-Warri rail line has been testified by many to have drastically reduced transport fare to and from that axis.

Amaechi however decried the alleged growing incidences of sharp practices by ticket sellers on the Abuja-Kaduna route, lamenting that some complain that tickets of N2,500 are sometimes sold at N10,000 by racketeers.

According to him, Nigerians are breaching the electronic ticketing system put in place for efficiency and accountability, warning that such actions can compromise national security.

“We must match the tickets to face carrying the ticket so that we don’t run into security problem. Security is central, a man who may be a bomber may be given a ticket that is not meant for him and then we are in trouble ” he said.

He further said that economic considerations informed the decision to settle for narrow gauge for the reconstruction of the Eastern Rail line, from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

“Some people may say why did you have to build narrow gauge for the Eastern line, simple, the answer is we had two approvals, the two approvals are as follows: we have a standard gauge approval that is between $11 to $14 billion for Port Harcourt with the same alignment, no changes, but it is costlier”

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