The Nigerian Government has gotten a $7.5 billion loan for the construction of standard rail gauge from Lagos to Kano.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday gave details of the rail project at the North Central Town Hall meeting held in Ilorin for the people of Kogi, Niger and Kwara states.
The $7.5 billion is part of the $30 billion loan the federal government seeks to take and for which it has sought approval from the National Assembly.
According to him, the loan was secured from a Chinese bank and the ministry is waiting for approval of the National Assembly to access the loan.
He said that $1. 4 billion of the loan was for the construction of the rail gauge from Lagos to Ibadan, while $6. 1 billion would be used on Ibadan–Ilorin–Minna-Kaduna– Kano line.
The minister also added that Kaura Namoda–Funtua rail line would also be revived.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to impress it on the National Assembly to approve the loan for work on the project to commence.
He added that the central rail project from Itakpe to Warri would be completed before the end of 2017, while narrow gauge line from Ilorin–Minna would also commence during the year.
Amaechi said plans were under way to connect Abuja to other parts of the country through the central line at Warri, while the Jos Inland Port would be completed in June, this year.
He said that a Lagos-Ijebu-Ode-Ore-Benin-Asaba-Agbor-Onisha-Sapele-Yenagoa-Port Harcourt-Uyo and Calabar coastal rail line would be constructed.
He said that work on the Eastern rail flank linking Aba to Port Harcourt, Makurdi, Enugu and Jos, would commence in June.
The minister said that Ekiti would be linked by rail through Osogbo and would run to Ilorin, Minna and Kano.
He also said that the ministry had sought approval to purchase more coaches and locomotives for the Abuja-Kaduna light rail.
He accused the National Assembly of holding the Federal Government back from fixing infrastructure problems and creating jobs by failing to approve its borrowing plans.
According to him, if accessed, the loan will enable the government to embark on the revitalisation of rail projects which will create more jobs for Nigerians.
The meeting was attended by stakeholders, including traditional rulers, labour leaders, students, women societies and artisans.