Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government is currently negotiating for $15 billion fund for the execution of Port Harcourt â€“ Maiduguri rail project.
Making this disclosure in the Presidential Villa after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the president had approved negotiations for the fund which he said would include the cost of implementing Lagos â€“ Calabar rail project.
â€œDonâ€™t forget that the Lagos-Calabar project is yet to start because of funds; the Port Harcourt â€“ Maiduguri is yet to start because of funds, but the President has approved that we negotiate for funds.
â€œWe are almost concluding negotiations for the Port Harcourt â€“ Maiduguri. We are looking at the cost â€“it is in the neighbourhood of between $14 billion and $15 billion,â€ he said.
According to him, laying tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route would commence in April adding that the project would provide a lot of job opportunities for Nigerians.
â€œIf the rain doesnâ€™t start early we will start laying tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route in April and hopefully we believe we can complete it in December or January and open it up for passengers and business and we expect about 6, 000,000 tonnes of cargoes out of the 30,000,000 tons of cargo that we have between Lagos and Kano. In terms of job creation, you can be rest assured that it will be in thousands,â€ he said.
Also speaking on Itakpe â€“ Warri rail project, Amaechi said the project was being reconstructed as he expressed hope that it would be inaugurated by August.
â€œThe tracks were already there but they were vandalised so we are rebuilding those tracks and then building new stations. We are also reconstructing a yard that was abandoned. All things being equal, the place should be ready soon, we gave them May as completion period but letâ€™s say by August we should be commissioning.â€™
He assured of safety in each of the functioning trains.
â€œThere are policemen in all the coaches that ply our routes. So if the passengers are attacked by armed robbers, they will report while they take action,â€ he said.