By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA â€” THE Federal Government yesterday awarded a N33 billion contracts for the design and completion of the remaining 22 kilometre Ajaokuta-Warri rail line. The contracts were awarded to Team Nigeria and Julius Berger PLC, respectively.
The contract sum also covered the sidings of Ajaokuta-Warri rail line up to Delta Steel Aladja-Warri and construction of six station buildings as well as rehabilitation of the completed portion of the line up to kilometre 254.
Minister of Transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio, who signed the contract agreement on behalf of the Federal Government in Abuja, said it was in pursuance of the key component of the present administrationâ€™s Seven-Point Agenda, which is the provision of basic transport infrastructure and expansion of the scope of passenger and cargo transportation.
Signing of yesterdayâ€™s rail line construction agreement is the third in the last few weeks, a development the minister tied to the determination of this administration to revamp the railway transport infrastructure in the country.
According to him,â€œthe signing of this contract agreement for the completion of central line is very remarkable, as it demonstrates the full commitment of this administration to restore the loss glory of the Nigerian railways and revitalising it into a modern railway system.â€
Describing the railway sector as most significant infrastructural development in Nigeria, Bio said the sector would stimulate economic growth, increase employment generation, improve rapid socio-political integration between the South-South region on the one hand and the other parts of the country on the other.
According to him, â€œthis no doubt is a demonstration of the Presidentâ€™s resolute commitment to the rapid transformation of the Niger Delta region as contained in His Excellencyâ€™s recent post-amnesty speech.
â€œThe completion of the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line (other wise called the central railway line) will create a vital artery which other connecting horizontal East-West lines will be built to bring about an integrated rail/road network in the country for seamless transportation.”