By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that the federal government would commence the construction of the Ibadan to Kano rail project this year when the Chinese government approves its 5.3 billion dollars loan.
Amaechi, who spoke when he appeared on the NTA Weekend Deal Programme in Abuja, said that what was approved by the government was the approval for the contract.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract.
“The moment I announce that FG has awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC to construct Ibadan-Kano, they assume the money has come in, no.
“Up to now we have not gotten the money a year after we have applied for the loan, we have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence,” he added.
Amaechi further stated that when the Ibadan-Kano rail would link six areas which are Kaduna-Kano-Abuja-Minna-Ilorin-Oshogbo-Ibadan where cargoes could be moved to Kano from Lagos.
Reacting on the issue of wet cargoes on the road causing accidents, he said that for now, cargoes can only go from Lagos to Ibadan.
He stated that when the Ibadan to Kano rail project is completed wet and dry cargoes can be transported from Lagos to Kano.
“Nigeria should be more patience with the Ministry of Transportation over the issue of wet cargoes. Currently we are trying to construct the railway into the seaports to enable us transport either wet or dry cargoes to various destinations, the only wet cargo that can go now is between Lagos to Ibadan.
“The moment we conclude that we will be able to move wet cargoes all the way to Kano from Lagos. We should also commence the construction of Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, we should be able to move cargoes from Bonny to Maiduguri,” he said.
Speaking on the funding of the rail projects, Amaechi said that the Ministry of Finance is in charge of funding of those rail projects not the ministry of transportation, stating that they have the presidential approval to borrow money to fund projects.