Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, says his Ministry is seeking Presidential approval for the rehabilitation of the Portharcourt – Maiduguri narrow gauge.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Amaechi said while his Ministry was waiting to get a loan to construct the standard gauge, it would be easier to commence rehabilitation of the narrow gauge lines.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier given approval for the construction of the standard gauge, the seaport in Bonny and Portharcourt industrial park.
However, Amaechi said: “If we start pursuing the money to construct Port Harcourt -Maiduguri now in case of loan, we may not get the loan easily.
“So why not give us permission to do two things at the same time. While looking for the money for the standard gauge, allow us to rehabilitate the narrow gauge.
“The president is a bit more determined that we construct a standard gauge, but if we continue to wait, we may not get the funds to construct the standard gauge now.
“In the ministry, we thought, why not rehabilitate the narrow gauge, rebuild the stations, extend to Damaturu in Yobe and extend to Bonny in Rivers so we can bear it pending when we get the money for the standard gauge.”
On the Ibadan to Kano railway project, the Minister stressed that the contract has been awarded and the ministry was awaiting the funds from the Ministry of finance to commence construction.
He stated that his ministry was also compelling the contractors to finish the project which was to last six years, in three years to enable president Buhari commission the project before leaving office in 2023.