The construction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern rail line by China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) has been suspended due to insecurity and vandalism of railway properties along the corridor. The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo disclosed the suspension in Lagos on Saturday, 3rd September 2022.
The Minister had complained of attacks on its workers along the Abia State axis while on an inspection tour of the project in Port Harcourt. The minister condemned the attacks.
“I am very displeased by these acts and I condemn it in strong terms,” the minister said.
“In the history of Nigeria, no administration has invested more in rail infrastructure like the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I call on the media and judiciary to collaborate with the Ministry to ensure that these economic saboteurs are not only exposed but prosecuted and sentenced speedily to serve as a deterrent to others,” he added.
Sambo also refuted reports being circulated that funds meant for the eastern rail line were diverted to other projects, describing it as “fake news”.
“The progress made so far is from 15 percent of the counterpart funding by Nigeria while the 85 percent to be provided by foreign partners is still negotiated,” he added.
In 2020, the federal executive council (FEC) approved the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line valued at $3 billion.
The rail line is expected have new branches — from Port Harcourt to Bonny and from Port Harcourt to Owerri. The Government also approved a new deep seaport in Bonny at a cost of $461.91mnand a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt at a cost of $241.15mn, both in Rivers state.
There is also another connecting to narrow gauge to standard gauge at Kafanchan. There will be a branch line from Gombe or before Maiduguri to Damaturu and Gashau.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur