President Muhammadu Buhari has approved negotiation for $15 billion loan for the completion of work on the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail project.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, after a closed door meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He also said that the President has approved negotiations of funds for the execution of Lagos – Calabar rail project to ensure its speedy completion.
He said “Don’t forget that the Lagos-Calabar is yet to start because of funds; the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri is yet to start because of funds, but the President has approved that we negotiate for funds.
“We are almost concluding negotiations for the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri. We are looking at the cost – is in the neighbourhood of between 14 and 15 billion dollars.’’
He explained that a lot of progress is being made in the area of revamping rail transportation network across the country.
According to him, the laying of tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route would commence next month, stressing that the project would provide a lot of job opportunities to Nigerians.
He said “If the rain doesn’t start early we will start laying tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route in April and hopefully we believe we can complete it in December or January and open it up for passengers and business and we expect about 6, 000,000 tons of cargo out of the 30,000,000 tons of cargo that we have between Lagos and Kano.
“In terms of job creation, you can be rest assured that it will be in thousands,” he added.
He said that the Itakpe – Warri rail project was being reconstructed as he hoped that it would be inaugurated by August.
He said: “The tracks were already there but they were vandalised so we are rebuilding those tracks and then building new stations.
“We are also reconstructing a yard that was abandoned. All things being equal, the place should be ready soon, we gave them May as completion period but let’s say by August we should be commissioning.’’ he added
The Minister reassured that adequate security had been taken to guarantee safety of passengers aboard rail transportation in the country.
“There are policemen in all the coaches that ply our routes. So if the passengers are attacked by armed robbers, they will report while they take action,” he said.