By Benjamin Idakwo
Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed the Federal Government’s assurances to reconstruct the entire stretch of the rail line with a spur to a railway industrial park in Port-Harcourt, which he said, has been added to the design.
Amaechi stated this when he was speaking at Nigeria Economic Outlook 2020, organised by Deloitte in Dialogue in Lagos with the theme, “Railway Infrastructure: Progress and Plan.”
According to him, “We will provide railway from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. The President has assured me. We are discussing and announcement would soon be made on the project.
Speaking on how to improve transportation of goods and services across the country, Amaechi said, “Nigerians are mostly particular about human transportation, how they can commute from Lagos to Ibadan daily, but the most important is actually for moving cargo to enhance productivity.
“Lagos to Kano rail is capable of moving 30 million tons of cargo from Lagos to Kano, while Port Harcourt to Maiduguri can take 11 million tons of cargo.
“We would also look at policy to ensure that after building the railways, there are certain cargoes that will not be allowed on the roads to encourage movement of cargo by rail and to ensure that our roads last longer”
The Minister asserted that moving cargoes across the country through rail would be cheaper and faster than roads.
Amaechi added that the just completed Warri-Itakpe rail line, which was the first standard gauge rail line in the country, started about 34 years ago, adding that it was abandoned by the previous governments.
“Now we have completed it, built stations, 1000 housing units for staff members and workshops are all ready.
For maritime security, Amaechi said, the Federal Government was putting in place three helicopters, two airplanes, four to six drones for 24 hours, among others.
Amaechi further disclosed that the Federal Government has approved the building of two new seaports in Bonny, Rivers State and Warri in Delta State, adding that government was ready to construct the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line.
“The first deep seaport we will have in Nigeria is already being built at Lekki. There is another one being proposed by the Akwa Ibom State government called the Ibom Seaport. I have told them to bring it and I will give them all the backing they need.
“I tell people that this government is by far more business friendly. We would leave as much infrastructure as possible for the country” he said.