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Buhari To Flag Off Eastern Rail Corridor Next Week

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President Mohammadu Buhari

In a bid to boost trade and ease logistics constraints in the Eastern region, President Muhammadu Buhari would perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the Eastern rail corridor on March 9, 2021.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this yesterday while inspecting the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

Amaechi said that the cities of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State and Awka in Anambra State would be covered as branch routes on the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Eastern railway corridor.

His words: “On March 9, 2021, we will lay the foundation stone for the Eastern rail line. Note that there is a difference between ground-breaking and construction.

“First is groundbreaking, next is frontend engineering. And as they finish, they begin construction. To make sure that they are fast, if they finish to Aba, we commence the use of trains to Aba, to Umuahia, and until we get to Maiduguri and Yobe.

“The President appears to be willing to direct that we should create two more new spots – Abakaliki and another to Awka. I don’t have approval yet, but I have the presidential directive to offer an advice, and I have offered the advice.

On completion of his inspection tour, Amaechi expressed satisfaction with work so far done on the project as the laying of track within the Apapa port axis had been completed.

He said “I am satisfied. I am proud of what I have seen today.”

He, however, charged the project handling company to ensure the fixing of central air-condition system in the four major stations, while others could have unit systems.

Amaechi noted that with the level of work done at the stations, getting ready for commissioning would not be anything to worry about even in the shortest time considered.

The Minister charged the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure trucks do not disrupt work within the rail track areas.

He said: “The management of the NPA needs to ensure that everybody leaves the work area until it is completed. We cannot allow trucks stand on the tracks unless they are there with cargoes for export or taking out imports.

“Talking about challenges, let’s complete the work up to the quays, then we will deal with the issue of discipline.”

Speaking on the proposed new transport university in Ubima, Rivers, the Minister clarified that “If you go by the Kano-Maradi agreement, it says it will start simultaneously as they start that project. So, they are doing their frontend engineering.

“I hope that as at now too they are trying to design the university. So, when they finish designing, they will start that construction as they start Kano-Maradi rail project. That is the agreement in the contract.”

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