By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA-THE Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Federal Government will soon connect the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and the 36 states through rail lines.
Amaechi made this revelation during the presentation of a Brief on the Formation Objectives, Achievements, Challenges and Way Forward for Railway Property Management Company Limited (a subsidiary of Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC) at an interface with the House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport on Tuesday.
He said the ministry’s drive to connect major cities in Nigeria through functional railway lines is part of the federal government’s roadmap enunciated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plans (ERGP) 2018-2020.
Amaechi also said “we are looking at the coastal rail lines that the previous Government of Jonathan awarded that connects from Lagos to Ijebu, Ijebu-Ore-Benin then from Benin to Agbor-Asaba back to Benin to link Sapele-Warri-Yenogoa-Onne Port.
He told the committee members that work had also commenced at Idu- Kaduna rail line for a standard gauge.He also said that by the end of January 2019 the work on Iju- Lagos rail line would have been completed.
The Transport Minister told the lawmakers that work had started in earnest “at Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and the Owerri-Port Harcourt is ongoing to connect the eastern flank.
Other parts of the federation where he said work is ongoing smoothly connect the country with railways are:Damaturu-Maiduguri rail line, Makurdi-Enugu rail line, Jos-Bauchi and Gombe rail line and Itakpe-Ilorin rail line among others.
Amaechi further said that plans are underway by the ministry to establish the Federal Universities of Transportation in Katsina and Rivers States.
He hinted of plans to establish a deep sea ports at Bonny in Rivers State and Warri in Delta State.
At the hearing, one of the agencies under the ministry-the Railway Property Management Company Limited (a subsidiary of the Nigeria Railway Corporation NRC) further told the Committee that the NRC has the largest landed property in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of the agency Alhaji Abubakar Labaran had told the Committee that the company which was registered in October 7, 1996 at Corporate Affairs Commission manages NRC properties nationwide.
Chairman of the House Committee Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin and other lawmakers thereafter charged the Minister and his team to ensure all parts of the country benefits from the national railway inter-connectivity project.