NIGERIA – The Federal Government has started negotiations for the commencement of the construction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Ameachi said the ongoing negotiations were between Nigeria and the Chinese government for the project that would stretch from Rivers to Borno State.
The rail line, according to Amaechi, will go through several states including Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Rivers, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe.
The minister however noted that these rail projects required substantial amounts of money adding that if the government fails to secure enough funds for all the projects then it could as well borrow money to rehabilitate the existing lines.
Nigeria has a total of 3,505 km of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge lines and 507 km of standard gauge lines.
Years of neglect of both the rolling stock and the right-of-way have however seriously reduced the capacity and utility of the system.
This has led to establishment of over 600km of functional rail lines, and the government has committed to continue with the work of expanding the country’s rail network.