The Federal Ministry of Transportation has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the Eastern rail corridor on March 9, 2021.
The rail project which has generated a lot of debate especially from that region is part of the Buhari-led administration’s railway modernization initiative.
According to a press statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Transportation on February 28, 2021, and signed by its Director for Public Relations, Eric Ojiekwe, the disclosure was made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an inspection tour to all the stations from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Ebute Metta to Ibadan station over the weekend.
Amaechi further disclosed that the President has also approved the redirecting of the Eastern line to 2 new spurs namely; Abakaliki, Ebonyi State and Awka, Anambra State
The Minister also mentioned that the Federal Government has approved the commencement of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project and is also negotiating loans for the Lagos-Calabar rail project.
On the take-off of the Ibadan-Kano rail project, Amaechi informed that the government is still seeking approval for a loan to enable it to take off.
Speaking on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the minister noted that he has challenged Messrs China Civil Engineering and Construction Company to deploy global acceptable safety and security standards for the project. He directed that a central cooling system be installed in all the major train stations along that route.
This announcement by the ministry would come as a welcome relief to agitators from that region who complained about being left behind in the current administration’s railway modernization projects as rail projects are going on in other regions and none had taken off in the region.
The absence of a modern railway will adversely affect economic activities in the region.
In one of his engagements with the National Assembly, Amaechi, while denying exclusion of Eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri in the ongoing rail construction and modernization, said that the delay was due to bureaucratic bottlenecks caused by the Public Procurement Act.