Rehabilitation of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail Line begins
story from Isah Aliyu CHIROMA, Abuja
Federal government of Nigeria has commenced rehabilitation work on the Port Harcourt-Maduguri rail line. The rehabilitation of the line has been delayed since 2021 when it was flagged off due to paucity of funds.
Speaking while inspecting the line in Port Harcourt on Sunday, the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said, “We will begin to assess the contractors in three weeks or one month. They just started work recently.
“When the project started, they were not funded but now we have given something that can make the work move forward.
“They now have some level of funding. I hope we secure the loan before they have finished.”
Speaking on the source of funding for the project, Amaechi said, “I will give an update when I meet with the contractor. But what I know is that the minister of finance hasn’t given them a mandate letter to secure the loan. They said part of the money is ready but they need a mandate letter first.
“I expect that they should have cleared up to the Imo River. I expect that they should have stated formation work. What they are doing here is a reconstruction so I expect that the formation work should have been very significant. Clearing should have gotten to Imo River if we must get to the target of Enugu by September.”
Speaking on the target for the contractors on the project, the minister said the expectation is that they should get to Enugu around September.
On the facilities that will be constructed around the corridor, the minister said: “We also need to get Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval on the train stations around the corridor.
The stations that are not approved, we need to get the cabinet to approve those.
“What we are trying to do is to build the same infrastructure we have on the standard gauge so that if we need to have standard gauge, we will use the infrastructure. For me, if we are designing standard gauge on this corridor, we should design it in a way we can use the same stations.”
Also, while speaking on the challenges of security on the corridor, the minister said, “I think we need more security on the rail corridor so we don’t have issues with kidnappers and all that.
“I have directed the permanent secretary to apply to the chief of army staff for more security on the construction site and also more police security”.