MINISTER of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the Eastern rail corridor of the country’s ongoing railway modernisation on March 9, 2021.
The minister made the disclosure during his inspection of all the stations from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Ebuta Metta to Ibadan station.
Amaechi in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja, through the Director of Press of the ministry, Mr. Eric Ejiekwe, noted that the president has also approved the redirecting of the Eastern line to two new spurs namely Abakaliki, Ebonyi State and Awka, Anambra State.
Moreover, the minister stated that the federal government has approved the commencement of the Port Harcourt – Kano rail project and is also negotiating loans for the Lagos – Calabar rail project.
While speaking on the take-off of the Ibadan-Kano rail project, the minister noted that the government is still seeking approval for a loan to enable its takeoff.
Concerning the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, he explained that he has challenged Messrs China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) to deploy global acceptable safety and security standards for the project.
He directed that central cooling system be installed in all the major train stations along the route.
In a related development, the minister has instructed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to punish truckers who flout directives.
He urged the NPA to punish truckers who fail to comply with government’s directives when the rail end of the Apapa Port Spur line is completed
According to the minister, “President Buhari has issued a directive on the tonnage of cargo that should be allowed on roads and the directive will be complied with.
“The directive has not been implemented as there are no viable alternatives yet to what subsists.”
While inspecting the completed southward 8.72 km of the Apapa Port Spur Line end of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, Amaechi expressed displeasure at the outrageous number of trucks parked on the rail tracks, making work difficult to complete.
He however, directed the management of the NPA to ensure that the trucks are moved out, adding that only registered trucks moving goods imported or to be exported would be allowed into the ports.