By Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA — MINISTER of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s determination to complete the Warri-Ajaokuta standard gauge rail line by March next year.
This is contained in a statement by Assistant Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Transport, Abiodun Oladunjoye, after an inspection tour of the project by the minister.
After the inspection, Senator Umar expressed satisfaction at the work done so far, adding that government was making efforts to address the financial constraints which had been the fundamental issue militating against the speedy completion of the project.
Senator Umar was later received at Agbor terminal by the Obi of Owa Kingdom, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor, who urged him to ensure that the work was finished in time to decongest the roads and bring life to the rail routes.
Project coordinator, who is also a Division Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria, Mr. Guido Abel, identified funding as the biggest obstacle to the realisation of the project and hoped that government would make necessary funds available for its completion.
The rail from Warri passes through Itakpe, Ajaokuta, Agbor, Warri and Ore, with six stations between.
The Warri-Ajaokuta rail line, which is 276 kilometers long, was conceived in 1987 to carry steel products and raw materials from Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Warri, but was later abandoned, after about 254 kilometres had been done, due to lack of funding.
The project was resuscitated in 2009 and is slated for completion in March 2013. It will now carry passengers as well as freight.