Daily Trust

Ibadan-Kano double gauge rail to cost $8billion – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Romti Amaechi, has said the Ibadan to Kano double gauge rail line will cost about $8billion (about N2.44trn).

Amaechi disclosed this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.

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The rail line which is a part of the Lagos to Kano double rail project will pass through several states including Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Kwara and Niger state before it gets to Kaduna and then Kano.

The Minister told journalists that the FG is committed to the project and it is currently negotiating about $6bn facility from the Chinese EXIM Bank to do the project.

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“We are currently in negotiations with the China Exim Bank to get about $6bn to do (rail lines) from Ibadan to Kano. It is a difficult decision. Why is it difficult? The money required is about $8bn to do a double track but the Chinese are insisting that they can’t fund the double track” he explained.

He said following the huge sum required, some people are advising the government to fix the project in tranches but the FG has declined because it might not be economically viable if the rail line doesn’t connect the seaports to the north.

“They (Chinese) are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna. But there are those who argue that we should not accept that, rather we should tell them (Chinese) to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense,” he said.

According to him, the rail must link Lagos ports down to Kano to maximize the economic benefits on that rail corridor as the value is in the freight not passengers.

On the $195m contract awarded to an Israeli security firm on securing Nigerian water ways he said the contract will help reduce significant crime within Nigeria’s territorial waters.

“The Federal Government has approved the sum of $195m…to hire an Israeli company to help train our security personnel to help man our water ways,” he said.

“Currently, there are criminal activities in our waterways which has made people in some parts of the country charge what they call war insurance. War insurance means that you go to an area where there is (seems to be) war, but you know that there is no war there” he explained.

“But in such areas criminal activities are taking place in the water ways. So with the approval, after we’ve put the processes in place, we will ensure that there is security on our waters,” he assured.