The federal government has said that the South-East geo-political zone was not excluded from the ongoing rail projects across the country.
Director of Press in the ministry of transportation, Yetunde Sonaike, made the clarification in a statement on Thursday.
Sonaike explained that major rail projects being undertaken by the government are the Lagos to Calabar and Lagos to Kano rail lines.
The Lagos – Calabar will traverse Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin City-Sapele-Warri-Yenegoa with siding to Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-calabar and branch line from Benin City-Abudu-Onitsha including Onitsha rail bridge.
The Lagos – Kano rail Project will traverse Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan-Oshogbo-Ilorin-Jebba-Minna-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano with branch line from Minna-Abuja and Abuja-Kaduna.
The Ministry also stated that the China Exim Bank loan which the federal government intends to procure would be used to fund three segments from the rail project which are as follows: “Lagos-Ibadan: Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan with extension to Apapa Port Complex (Segment 2 of Lagos – Kano), Kano-Kaduna (Segment 3A of Lagos – Kano) and Calabar – Port Harcourt: Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar with extension to Onne Deep Sea Port (Segment 1 of the Coastal rail Line).”
“From the foregoing, it can be deduced that the Federal Government rail projects touch various sections of the country and therefore no section is or will be left out,” the statement read.
“The Present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to serving the nation and determined to revive the rail infrastructure thereby ensuring ease of movement of people and cargoes within the country.
“The rail project is aimed at fast- tracking economic diversification as well as optimizing the Federal Government change agenda in the transportation sector which will serve as an economic index for growth and development.”
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Senate had summoned the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to appear before its committee on transport to explain the seeming exclusion of rail lines linking the South East region to other parts of the country.
This followed a motion raised by Abia State lawmaker, Enyinnaya Abaribe, asking the Senate to suspend consideration of the request by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the lawmakers’ approval for the government to secure loans from the Chinese EXIM bank to finance the construction of rail projects across the country.
Abaribe said: “The Eastern section of the rail segment which has link between South-Eastern and North-Eastern segment of the rail line is completely left out.
“The loan being a federal government would be paid by all sections of the country; therefore, every section of the country should be taken into consideration.
“For the railway project to have meaningful impact on the development of the country it should cover all parts of the country.
“Exclusion of the Eastern section which links four zones of South-South, South-East, and North -Central and the North-East, and the key cities such as Port Harcourt, Enugu, Aba, Markurdi, Lafia, Gudi, Bauchi and Maiduguri is inexplicable.”