The Nigerian government says a lot of progress is being made in the area of revamping rail transportation network across the country.
Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi made the disclosure while speaking to Journalists after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister announced that laying of tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route next month, adding that a lot of jobs would be created when the operations commence on that route and many others.
“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.
The Minister said there is enough security for passengers aboard any of the routes, stressing that rail transportation is safe.
“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.
Amaechi said negotiations on the completions of work on the Portharcourt-Maiduguri route are going on well. He estimated the cost to be around 14 and 15 billion dollars.
Commenting on the Ajaokuta route, the Minister said: “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,”
Amaechi, who said he was in the State House to brief the President on the activities of the Ministry of Transport, which he oversees, also said the Ministry is determined to complete work on the Itakpe-Warri axis and inaugurate same before August this year.