The Federal Government has kickstarted a $3 billion rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Eastern Railway line that links major cities across the country.
The rail line is expected to move from Bonny Ports to Port Harcourt in Rivers State and when completed would connect Rivers, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno States by rail.
The project which marks the latest step in an ambitious plan to create a nationwide rail network intended to help accelerate Nigeria’s economic diversification plan away from crude oil, will involve the revamping of a dilapidated 1,443-kilometer (897-mile) line that starts from the southeastern oil hub of Port Harcourt and terminates at the northeastern city of Maiduguri.
President Muhammadu Buhari at the virtual flag-off of the project said, ‘’The contract has the objective of resuscitating the once vibrant railway transportation in the eastern corridor of the country.’’
The project which will see the South Eastern states connected to the rail line will be executed by the Nigerian subsidiary of state-owned China Civil Engineering Construction Corp.(CCECC) as the main contractor.
The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amechi, at the ceremony said that the Federal Government is expected to provide about 15% of the $3 billion costs of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line while the outstanding balance will be coming from a syndicate of Chinese financiers.