The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said on Thursday that the Federal Government and its Chinese counterpart are holding talks on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project.
The minister disclosed this in a statement issued by his media aide, Israel Ibeleme.
He also said the federal government would continue its negotiations with a Russian company for the commencement of the Lagos-Calabar rail project.
Amaechi said: “The six geo-political zones are all covered, Port Harcourt –Maiduguri covers Port Harcourt, Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Abakaliki, Awka, Makurdi, Lafia, Akwanga, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, and connects to Damaturu, and then Maiduguri.
“The Lagos-Calabar rail line covers the whole of the South-South zone. We have Lagos coming through Akure and Benin.
“Then from Benin, we have a spot leading to Agbor and Asaba to Onitsha and then you continue to Benin to Ughelii, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo, and Calabar that takes care of the South-South zone.
“While the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri rail line takes care of the South East and North-East zones.
“The Lagos-Kano rail line also takes care of the southwest zone and parts of the North West and North Central zones.’’
According to Amaechi, the central line that starts from Abuja also takes care of the North Central zone which includes Kogi and Kwara States.
The minister said the construction of the rail lines across the country required huge funding and acknowledged Nigeria’s rising debt profile.
“Currently what we now have as functional lines are Lagos-Ibadan (156km), Abuja-Kaduna (186km), and Itakpe-Warri which is about 350km all put together under this government.
“We have recorded a total of about 600+km of the railway and by the time we complete the Ibadan-Kano rail line which is about 860km, we will be having 1500+km railway constructed by this government.
“I hope that the next government that will take over from us will be able to do something in that regard to progress the railway because even if we finish the Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines, the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri line still needs to be finished,” the minister concluded. (NAN)