Buhari Flags Off Eastern Railway Rehabilitation Project
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday launched the Eastern railway rehabilitation project.
The Eastern corridor is a narrow-gauge rail track stretching from Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, through the South-East, North Central and North-East, terminating in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
With a total of 61 stations and passing loops, the project has a contract timeline of 36 months. It was designed for a maximum speed of 80km/h on the mainline as well as 60km/h on the branch line.
The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) is also handling the project like it did with other rail projects in the country.
Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, recently disclosed that President Buhari had directed the extension of the corridor to Abakiliki and Awka, the capitals of Ebonyi and Anambra States respectively.
“The Eastern railway corridor will now have a branch route to Abakaliki and Awka,” he stated at a routine inspection of the $1.5 billion Lagos to Ibadan standard project last week.
Speaking on the level of work done towards the completion of all station buildings along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor as well as the extension of the rail line from Ebutte Metta to the Apapa seaport, the Minister had said, “As you can see, the laying of the track has been successfully done into Apapa port.”
“The stations are completed too, what is left at most of the stations is the fixing of bulbs and little things like that. If we tell CCECC to get this place ready for commissioning in the next two weeks, this place will be ready,” he added.
The Minister equally charged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other agencies at the port to ensure that the train is highly utilized in lifting cargo when the rail project is fully commissioned.
He then tasked the management of NPA to ensure that trucks are cleared at the port, adding that only registered trucks moving goods imported or to be exported be allowed into the ports.