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FG to commence construction of Ibadan-Kano, Lagos Calabar rail projects

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Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday unveiled plans by the Federal Government to begin construction work on Ibadan-Kano, Lagos-Calabar, Kano-Maradi, and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects. 

The projects had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) but could not be commenced due to financial constraints.

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However, during the annual ministerial briefing on the programmes, projects, and activities of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies, yesterday, Amaechi said the government has resolved the financial problems delaying the projects.

He, however, said the problem of hiring consulting engineers was still being addressed.  

Amaechi said: “We have awarded the following contracts and we are about to start and we have even tried to solve the financial problems. This is because we have the problem of having to hire consulting engineers.

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“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan to Kano that we are waiting for funds from China. We are about to start Port Harcourt to Maiduguri; we are waiting for the cabinet to approve consulting shares. We are also to start the Kano-Maradi and Lagos to Calabar.”

Amaechi disclosed that there might be a slight adjustment in the pricing of the Kano-Maradi railway project because of the adjustment of linking it up to the Lagos seaport following the President’s directive that all rail lines must terminate at the seaports. 

He further hinted that the 185.5km Lagos-Ibadan double standard gauge line with extension to Apapa seaport was nearing completion, while the 186km Abuja-Kaduna and 302km Warri-Itakpe standard gauge lines had been completed and were functional.

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The minister frowned at the ticket racketeering perpetrated by some employees of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) and directed the management of the NRC to deal decisively with anyone found culpable.

He noted, however, that with the introduction of the online ticketing system on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, the NRC had been able to raise its earnings by about N50 million after deducting its operational cost. 

On the refund of loan taken for the project, the minister said the government had “paid a total sum of N420.46 million into the escrow account from revenue received from Abuja-Kaduna train services over the period of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 (ERGP).”

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