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South East not marginalised in Buhari’s rail projects, says FG

By Guardian Nigeria
08 November 2022   |   4:27 am
Federa Government says the South East is not marginalised in rail projects executed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, stated this, yesterday, in Abuja while presenting achievements of his ministry ...

Minister of State for Works and Housing, Muazu Sambo

Federa Government says the South East is not marginalised in rail projects executed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, stated this, yesterday, in Abuja while presenting achievements of his ministry at the second edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard 2015-2023, organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Reacting to a question on why the South East was restricted only to narrow gauge rail lines, the minister said it was a wrong conclusion. Sambo said: “There is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to marginalise the South East, and, if anything, that is one part of the country that has benefited the most from Buhari’s infrastructure projects.

“The narrow gauge you are referring to is the one that runs from Maiduguri, all the way through Jos, up to Port Harcourt.

“If that is the one you are talking about, first of all, I will let you know that Maiduguri, Jos and other cities the rail lines traversed are not in the South East.”

According to the minister, the second option was the narrow gauge contract, saying: “When it was being considered by my predecessor, two options were open to the ministry; either to rehabilitate the narrow gauge at a cost of about $3 billion or to do a standard gauge at a cost of about $12 billion.

“We don’t have the money, we are going to borrow anyway. So, we thought whatever the standard gauge will give us, the narrow gauge will also give.” Sambo added that looking at the pros and cons of the corridor, the narrow gauge would convey more cargos. He noted that the only difference between the narrow gauge and the standard gauge is the speed.

Justifying his position that the South East benefited most, the minister said it is Buhari’s administration that constructed the second Niger Bridge, which previous governments could not achieve. He said Buhari would inaugurate the bridge before the end of the year.