The federal government is targeting to reach Enugu on the ongoing reconstruction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail project by September 2022.
Our correspondent reports that the reconstruction work on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail track has commenced from Port Harcourt. The work will span from Port Harcourt via Aba, Enugu, Makurdi, Plateau, Bauchi, Yobe and down to Maiduguri.
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Recall President Muhammadu Buhari had on 9th March 2021 flagged off the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line (Eastern Rail line) reconstruction project. The project awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) is valued at about $3 billion and measures1, 443 km 1,067 mm narrow gauge rail line.
The minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said funding has challenged the work but that negotiation for a result line for the project is almost concluded.
“They just started work recently. When the project started, they were not funding but now we’ve 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,” the minister said.
“The expectation is that we should get to Enugu around September,” the minister said.
Continuing, he said “But we also need to get the 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” Mr Amaechi said.
At my next visit, “I expect that CCECC should have cleared up to Imo River. I expect that they should have started 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” he noted.
He also said some new stations will be built on the corridor. “We are trying to build the same infrastructure we have on the standard gauge so that if we need to have a 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 same stations” he noted.
On security for the contractor, he said he will seek additional security deployment on the sites. “I think we need more security on the rail corridor so we don’t have issues with kidnappers and all that.”