Vanguard (Lagos)

20 May 2012

Nigeria: Western Rail Line to Commence Operation Soon, Says Lawmaker

Abuja — Sen. Sahabi Ya'u, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, said on Sunday that the Western Rail Line would be fully operational before the end of the year.

The rail line is expected to connect Lagos, Ibadan, Jebba and Kaduna to Kano, while the Eastern Rail Line will link Port Harcourt and Makurdi to Maiduguri.

Ya'u said in Abuja that the Western Rail Line, which is 90 per cent completed, would have started functioning long time ago "if not for the Akere Bridge that collapsed".

"I assure Nigerians that the line would be in use before the end of this year; it's just remaining some little finishing touches."

He said the committee would, in the next few days, embark on an oversight visit to the Eastern Rail Line project where "work is going on at a slow pace".

"In the next one or two weeks, we will be out on oversight duty and we will make sure that every kobo that is put into the railway project is spent wisely."

The lawmaker said rehabilitation work had also started on some narrow gauge lines inherited from the colonial masters.

He said there was also budgetary provision for standard gauge rail lines from Lagos to Ibadan, and from Itakpe to Ajaokuta.

Ya'u said that there was provision in the 2012 budget for the completion of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta standard gauge line, which is meant to transport steel products to the ports.

He said the projects and the Abuja-Idu-Kaduna standard gauge line were expected to be completed before the end of this year, adding that the standard gauge lines were being constructed in phases because of the amount of money involved.

"We want to start the standard gauge in segmentation; it is being segmented instead of being awarded in whole because it is a very huge amount of money, which the country cannot afford at once.

"In the next few years, we will be having standard gauge rail lines running from Lagos to Kano and from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri." (NAN)

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