BY OUR EDITOR
The Federal Government has started negotiations for the construction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi said the ongoing negotiations were between Nigeria and the Chinese government for the project that would stretch from Rivers State to Borno State.
The rail line, according to the Minister, will go through several states including Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Rivers, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe.
THE PUNCH reports that the minister also stated that the Federal Government would continue its negotiations with Russia for the commencement of the Lagos-Calabar rail line project.
In a statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja on Thursday, Amaechi said, “The six geo-political zones are all covered. Port Harcourt-Maiduguri covers Port Harcourt, Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Abakaliki, Awka, Markurdi, Lafia, Akwanga, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe and connects to Yobe, Damaturu and then Maiduguri.
“The Lagos-Calabar line is for the whole of the South-South. We have Lagos coming through Akure, Benin and then from Benin we have a spot leading to Agbor and Asaba and to Onitsha.
“It then continues to Ughelii, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. That takes care of the South-South, while Port Harcourt-Maiduguri takes care of the South-East and the North-East.”
The minister said the rail projects required a lot of money, adding that the government had planned the projects in a way that all the regions in Nigeria were captured.
“The Lagos-Kano line takes care of the South-West and part of the North-West and North-Central. The central line that starts from Abuja takes care of the North-Central, Kogi and Kwara. All of these projects require money,” Amaechi stated.
He added, “If we can’t get money enough for the new ones, we can as well borrow money to rehabilitate the old ones.”
According to the Minister, the country now operates a total of over 600km of functional rail lines, adding that the government will continue to expand the country’s rail sector.