FG Replies Senate, Insists South-East Not Excluded In Rail Projects

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi

BEVERLY HILLS, May 18, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government on Thursday reacted to the Senate’s resolution on the exclusion of the eastern corridor in ongoing rail line projects, stressing that the new route is an improvement from an original plan, which includes the South-East, and links major cities in the country.

The Senate had on Tuesday summoned the Minister of Tranportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to explain why the eastern corridor of the country’s rail lines was excluded from the proposed $5.851bn loan from China to be used in funding standard guage lines from Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan, and Lagos-Calabar.

Moving a motion that resulted in the resolution, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, from Abia State said, “The eastern section of the rail segment, which has a link between the South East to the North Eastern parts of the rail line is completely excluded from the request.

“The loan, being federal government borrowing, will be paid for, by all sections of the country. Therefore, every section of the country should be taken into consideration.

“There is a railway Masterplan, developed by the ministry of Transport and of which such plans has not been referred to in the current borrowing plan.”

Reacting in a statement by the Director of Press, in the Ministry of Transportation, Yetunde Sonaike, the federal government gave details of major rail projects across the country and insisted that the South-East has been captured in the plan.

The statement reads, “The Lagos – Calabar will traverse Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin City-Sapele-Warri-Yenegoa with siding to Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-calabar and branch line from Benin City-Abudu-Onitsha including Onitsha rail bridge.
The Lagos – Kano rail Project will traverse Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Oshogbo-Ilorin-Jebba-Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano with branch line from Minna-Abuja and Abuja-Kaduna.”

The ministry also stated that the bank loan would be used to fund three segments from the rail project.

It added, “Lagos-Ibadan: Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan with extension to Apapa Port Complex (Segment 2 of Lagos – Kano), Kano-Kaduna (Segment 3A of Lagos – Kano) and Calabar – Port Harcourt: Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar with extension to Onne Deep Sea Port (Segment 1 of the Coastal rail Line).

“From the foregoing, it can be deduced that the federal government rail projects touches various sections of the country and therefore no section is or will be left out.

“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to serving the nation and determined to reviving the rail infrastructure thereby ensuring ease of movement of people and cargoes within the country.

“The rail project is aimed at fast- tracking economic diversification as well as optimising the Federal Government change agenda in the transportation sector which will serve as an economic index for growth and development.”

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