Buhari approves $15bn loan negotiations for Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the commencement of negotiation for $15 billion loan for the completion of the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail project.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, disclosed when he briefed State House Correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

Federal government had estimated the cost of completing the projects at between $14b to $15b.

The Loan aims at pushing up the level of progress made in revamping rail transportation network across the country.

Federal government listed the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and the Lagos-Calabar rail projects as major infrastructures that will Be development along the eastern corridor, both projects had however suffered set backs due to fund challenges

But according to the Transportation Minister, “We are almost concluding negotiations for the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri. We are looking at the cost – is in the neighbourhood of between 14 and 15 billion dollars.”

He disclosed that laying of tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route would commence next month, and expressed the hope that the project would provide a lot of job opportunities to Nigerians.

“If the rain doesn’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 tons of cargo 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,” he said.

On Itakpe – Warri rail project, Ameachi said the project was being reconstructed and said government’s target is to inaugurate it by August.

“The 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 let’s say by August we should be commissioning.”

The Minister reassured that adequate security had been taken to guarantee safety of passengers aboard rail transportation in the country.

“There 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,” he said.


Tony Ailemen, Abuja