The Federal Executive council has approved the sum of $11,174,769,721.74 for the proposed coastal railway project running from Lagos to Calabar.
At the meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa in Abuja on Wednesday, other matters discussed include the approval of $1.484 billion for the revamping of the Warri and Kaduna refineries and the acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Dangote Refinery by the Federal Government.
Present at the meeting was the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed to journalists after the meeting that the approved sum was to ensure that work on the projects takes off “immediately”.
He said, “The first one actually has to do with the Kano-Jibia rail and then the other one has to do with the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri route.
“Actually, what was approved there today was funding to ensure that work starts immediately on those two routes.
“Another memo that was approved today was the ratification of the President’s approval for the award of the contract for the Lagos-Calabar coastal standard gauge rail.
“You’ll remember that this is a very old project, which we inherited. Under the former administration, approval was given, but nothing was done, but today, the council has given the approval to commence the Lagos-Calabar coastal route.
“This particular route is very important because, after the Lagos-Kano route, this Lagos-Calabar coastal route actually will link all the coastal cities in the country.
“The proposed route alignment is to go from Lagos to Shagamu, Shagamu to Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Ode to Ore, Ore to Benin City, Benin to Sapele, Sapele to Warri, Warri to Yenagoa, Yenagoa to Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt to Aba, Aba to Uyo, Uyo to Calabar, Calabar to Akamkpa to Ikom, to Obudu Ranch, with a branch line from Benin City to Asaba, Onitsha Bridge and then Port Harcourt to Onne Deep Seaport.
“This particular project is very important, especially for our coastal economy.
“The cost of the project is $11,174,769,721.74 and we have six years for the completion of this project.”
Also present at the meeting were the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman.
On the part of the education minister, he said that the ministry presented its agenda that included “the ratification of the convention Nigeria had already acceded to. The convention seeks to regularise the recognition of certificates and diplomats all across Africa.
“The second memo also dealt with the award of contract for the building of two blocks of social science complexes at Adamawa State University in Mubi for a total sum of N1,103,000,000 which was a TETFUND allocation that emerged from the year 2017 through 2021.”
Earlier this year, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had said that the Lagos-Calabar railway project would commence before the end of the year, adding that a few other rehabilitation work on railways would be conducted on other routes.
He had said, “The President Buhari administration has embarked on railway construction and rehabilitation from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, from Ibadan to Kano and from Abuja to Kauran Namoda among others.
“We are also renewing the Lord Lugard railway line that has been out of effective service for decades,”