By: Afolabi Oyekunle.
The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has assured that the Kano-Lagos and Port-Harcourt to Aba rail services would start services by December 2023.
The revelation was made by the Managing Director, of NRC Engineer Fidet Okhiria on Friday during an interview on Channels TV, where he noted that contractors had given the corporation assurance that passengers and cargo transport would begin on the Kano-Lagos and Port-Harcourt-Aba rail tracks.
Okhiria explained that the government is working to guarantee security in the rail service sector in Nigeria.
“Within the next three months, we will be able to commence operations in Kano-Lagos and Port-Harcourt to Aba. So we can move from the port,” he said.
The Minister of Transportation, Honourable Saidu Alkali, has expressed disappointment over the slow pace of work on the reconstruction of the Eastern Railway Corridor by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Ltd.
The minister made his feelings known when he inspected the progress of work done on the reconstruction of Eastern railway corridor to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Alkali expressed sadness that between Port-Harcourt and Aba Section, only 47 per cent completion stage had been achieved, instead of achieving 47 per cent completion of the entire stretch from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“If you cannot complete Port-Harcourt to Aba which is 63km in 12 months, how would you be able to complete over 2000km in 36 months?”
Alkali expressed dismay on the use of manual alignment processes by the CCECC in laying the track in the 21st Century.
According to him, in a project that is 85 per cent funded by the Chinese and 15 per cent by the Federal Government, it is only the 15 per cent fund provision by the Federal Government that financed the project so far.
The minister said that he would go back to the ministry to look at what is within the ambit of the law and that whatever the law provided on the issues observed, he would enforce it.
Alkali, however, identified one of the striking benefits to be the linking up of the two Sea Ports in Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri as well as promotion of regional trading at a highly reduced cost.