The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday said the Ibadan-Kano rail project might start in January 2020 as the Federal Government expected the China Exim Bank to approve the loan for the contract.
Amaechi said this yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while briefing journalists on the outcome of the cabinet meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also said the free rail services for passengers moving from Lagos to Ibadan would continue till April 2020 when Buhari would commission the project.
“On railways, we confirmed to the President that we’ll be bringing in a DMU, which is diesel engine for Abuja-Kaduna. It will be eight coaches and two locomotives that will drive them. This is to reduce the pressure we have on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
“Like I said before, we provided coaches for only 300 passengers because that’s what the experts told us when we did the research, but now we are carrying 3,700 passengers, we are increasing the number of coaches everyday.
We believe that the president will commission eight new coaches and two new locomotives in January to carry passengers from Abuja to Kaduna and Kaduna back to Abuja.
“We also reported that we’ll be ready to commission Itakpe to Warri between January and April, depending on when the president will be available for it. I don’t know how many of you saw a tweet I sent about Agbor. Everywhere is ready; accommodation, workshop, stations, yard, everything, very beautiful. I can remember someone in Britain asking if it was in Nigeria and I told him it’s in Agbor village.
“We also reported that we believe that Lagos to Ibadan should also be ready for commissioning before April, if the President’s will permit it. We’ve commenced trial-run on Lagos to Ibadan.
The last time before tomorrow (Thursday), we ran from Iju to Ibadan. By tomorrow, we’ll start running from Agege to Ibadan. By the time we return from the holidays, we’ll be running from Ebite-meta to Ibadan.
“We believe that we should have gotten to the seaport before April, this should reduce what you call the Apapa gridlock. We are finding solution to the Apapa gridlock. “We also expect the China Exim Bank to approve the loan for Ibadan to Kano in January, if they do we expect that work should commence on Ibadan to Kano railway route in January or February next year.
We’ll also put one DMU of right coaches and two locomotives on the Ibadan-Lagos this January to convey passengers free of charge till April when the President will commission the project,” he said.