The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed why the Ibadan-Kano Railway railway construction is being delayed.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja by his media aide, Taiye Edeni, the minister said the project will begin once the Chinese government approves its $5.3bn loan to Nigeria.
Amaechi noted that the Federal Government had awarded the contract of $5.3bn to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to construct the Ibadan-Kano railway.
He noted that the Ibadan-Kano rail line would link over six strategic locations in Nigeria, including Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Minna, Ilorin, Osogbo, and Ibadan.
According to the minister, cargoes could be moved to Kano from Lagos once the railway project is complete. He added that cargoes could only move from Lagos to Ibadan to reduce tanker explosions and accidents on the road.
He said: “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation) to construct the Ibadan-Kano railway, people assumed the money had come in; no.”
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished that of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
He added: “Nigeria should be more patient with the Federal Ministry of Transportation over the issue of wet cargoes.
“Currently we are trying to construct the rail lines into seaports to enable us to transport either wet or dry cargoes to various destinations. For now, wet cargoes can only go between Lagos and Ibadan.
“But the moment we connect rail lines to seaports we will be able to move wet cargoes all the way to Kano from Lagos. We should also commence the construction of Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and we should be able to move cargoes from Bonny to Maiduguri.”