Nigerian President Buhari has approved the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line.
“The Federal Executive Council has approved the award of contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern narrow gauge railway, with new branch lines and trans-shipment facilities,” Nigeria’s transportation minister Rotimi Amaechi said on Wednesday after the FEC meeting.
“The railway line will be at the cost of $3,020,279,549,” he added.
Amaechi said the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge railway will have new branch lines – from Port Harcourt to Bonny and from Port Harcourt to Owerri.
“There is another connecting to narrow gauge to standard gauge at Kafanchan. There is a branch line from Gombe or before Maiduguri to Damaturu and Gashau,” he said.
The Eastern rail line was first constructed by the British colonialists several years before the country’s Independence in 1960.
Before it fell into comatose, the line facilitated movement and trading between the south and the north, accelerated urbanisation in Kafanchan and Jos, and buoyed the mining sector.
The rehabilitation of the rail was first initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan administration in May 2010.
According to a Premium Times investigation report published in July, the rehabilitation work was partitioned into three contracts.
The 463km Port Harcourt-Makurdi segment was awarded to Eser W.A. Ltd for N19.2billion while CGGC Global Projects Nigeria Limited was charged with rehabilitating the segment that runs from Makurdi to Kuru for N24.5 billion. Lingo Nigeria Limited was hired for N23.7 billion to rehabilitate the Kuru-Maiduguri segment.
Going by the contract documents reviewed by Premium Times, Eser and Lingo were to deliver on their contracts in 10 months while CGGC Global had a completion period of eight months.