The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, yesterday said that Nigeria’s rail line will cover the Western corridor of the country traversing nine states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja spanning a total of 1,402km.
Amaechi, at the Forum of China-Africa Transportation Convention in Beijing, China titled: ‘Better Transportation, Better World’ yesterday, said the project will be completed in 36 months as soon as the loan agreement is reached between Nigeria and China
The Minister said: “This rail line, a total of 1,402Km which covers the Western corridor of Nigeria traverses nine (9) states of our Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and is expected to be completed within three (3) years if the expected loan agreement with China-EXIM Bank for co-financing is reached as expected.”
Speaking on the Lagos – Kano railway project awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) and co-financed by China-EXIM Bank, Amaechi revealed that the project will serve as an important distribution corridor between the major seaport of Lagos and the hinterlands noting that the Investment and partnering is imperative in our cooperation with the Peoples Republic of China to strengthen Nigeria’s transport infrastructure and contribute towards building a competitive economy.
“Nigeria is also partnering with other private sector investors, foreign and domestic, including the consortium led by the United States General Electric,” he said.
Amaechi said: “The successful realisation of these projects and their operations will result in attainment of high level of intermodal transport system.
The Ministry of Transportation recently signed the commercial contract for the remaining 901 Km Ibadan – Kano stretch and the associated branch lines from Oshogbo to Ado Ekiti, South West Nigeria following the completion of the first segment of the line, Abuja – Kaduna railway project of 186.5km.
Amaechi said that the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna project has tremendously improved citizens’ mobility between the important Northern commercial city of Kaduna and the Federal Capital, Abuja. He said the project has been completed and commercial train operation has commenced since July, 2016 conveying close to a million passengers.
While the construction of the second segment which is 162Km Lagos – Ibadan double-track rail line is ongoing, Amaechi said that Nigerian Government and other African Governments have put effort at sourcing financiers for development of critical infrastructure especially its transport infrastructure – railways and ports.
“The Nigerian Government has liberalised the transportation sector, therefore admitting both private and institutional foreign and local investors to participate in the development and also develop legal framework and policies at reviving the railway sector,” he said.
The minister stated that key Chinese construction and financial entities have shown keen interest in some ventures and projects which include, The 284Km Kano – Katsina – Maradi (Niger Republic) rail line, The Port Harcourt – Maiduguri standard gauge rail line, The Bonny Deep Sea Port, the Port Harcourt Industrial Park Project and others.
He said that the prioritisation of the project will meet the ultimate needs of industrialization and diversification of our economy by serving as a backbone for a sustainable development and growth in mining, agriculture and oil & gas industries, as well as improve citizen mobility.
He further noted that the platform of the ongoing Convention will provide windows of opportunity where ideas and knowledge about management can be shared to achieve cheap, convenient and affordable intermodal transport system.