The very much anticipated interconnectivity of the nation via rail system has hit a brick wall recently due to financial limitations. As we all know, the presence of the rail system will go a long way in ensuring exponential growth and less rural-urban migration. Since you can easily take a train to the city and return after your daily dealing, there is definitely no point moving your family to the city. Development in itself will spread to the rural settlements across the country.
So, if you are still hoping for a Nigeria’s interconnectivity through the rail system, it seems like it will take a whole lot of time to be realized. The completion cost of the national rail project has been estimated at a $40 billion. That is 14.4 Trillion in Nigerian money.
According to Rotimi Amaechi, the current Minister for Transportation in the Federal republic of Nigeria has recently made it known that during Lagos-Ibadan rail project. He believes such financial difficulty or ministerial change will not disturb the ongoing projects.
The Minister of Transportation assures Nigerians of continuity despite financial difficulty in the rail project
According to him, he said:
The ongoing project cannot stop. The directive of the President, Mohammadu Buhari, is to link Nigeria with rail. Like I tell Nigerians we need a little patience because we need up to $36 to $40bn to complete the interconnectivity of Nigeria. When we had that kind of money what did we do with it? Those criticising the President should have asked that question. I guess they didn’t know that there was a time when we had the money and we enjoyed it through corruption.
He further explained:
It is very difficult to meet the challenges we are facing and these challenges can only be resolved by funds. Also, it is very clear that the project cannot be stopped because funding comes from China Nexim Bank, and we have finished paying our own counterpart money so why would it be abandoned? The good thing about all of this is that we have won the election and the same government is trying to finish the project. Even if you change the minister it is still the same government
When he was asked on the various setbacks that might be affecting the projects, the Minister made known his dissatisfaction due to poor survey. According to him:
I was not impressed with what I saw going by the last inspection. But they are human beings and have assured me that in one week time they will lay the beams on the tracks.
We are having soil challenges. At current level the contractors will need to replace the soil to enable smooth operation. Those challenges are as a result of poor geological survey. It was discovered that the water level is high. It is not much of obstacle as they just need to replace the soil.
On the Calaber rail project, Amaechi attributed funding as major setback to kick-start project. He explained that “No need to ask of the calabar project, as I am emotionally attached to it. It is unfortunate we have not gotten money yet to fund the project. The project was awarded under the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, but was supposed to have been passed under former president Olusegun Obasanjo tenue.
However, for the Lagos – Kano project, we are trying to visit china for renegotiation
Finally Lagos - Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Ready For Commission
We sincerely hope that this project sees the light of the day and not become one of those abandoned projects that exist in many states across the federation.
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