The federal government will begin work on the construction of the Ibadan-Kano rail project as soon as the Chinese government approves the sum of $5.3bn loan application, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said.
Amaechi, stated this as a guest of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, Weekend Deal Programme, monitored by our correspondent in Abuja.
He said: “We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract.
“The moment I announced that the federal government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC to construct Ibadan-Kano; they assumed the money had come in. No!
“Up till now, we have not gotten the money a year after we have applied for the loan; we have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence,” he added.
The Minister added that upon completion, the Ibadan-Kano rail would link the Kaduna-Kano-Abuja-Minna-Ilorin-Oshogbo-Ibadan where cargoes could be moved to Kano from Lagos.
On the issue of wet cargoes on the road resulting in vehicular accidents, Amaechi noted that henceforth, cargoes would be conveyed from Lagos to Ibadan only.
He stated that when the Ibadan to Kano rail project is completed, wet and dry cargoes can be transported from Lagos to Kano.
“Nigeria should be more patient with the Ministry of Transportation over the issue of wet cargoes. Currently, we are trying to construct the railway into the seaports to enable us to transport either wet or dry cargoes to various destinations. The only wet cargoes that can go now is between Lagos to Ibadan.
“The moment we conclude that 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 be able to move cargoes from Bonny to Maiduguri,” he said.
On the funding of various rail projects across the country, Amaechi said the Ministry of Finance is in charge of funding and not the Ministry of Transportation, adding however that Ministry has a Presidential seal of approval to seek loans to fund rail projects for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.