The Federal Government plans to begin work on the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line in February. The standard gauge rail line will link two of Nigeria’s largest cities in a project that aims to eventually connect the north and south of the country.
Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okheria, said in an interview with The Punch on Friday that the project, which is being jointly funded by the governments of Nigeria and China, would commence “in the next one month”, as the Chinese government has promised to meet up with its pledge by the end of January. Nigeria’s government is said to have already made its counterpart funding available.
The 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail line is the first phase of a 2,733 km railway which is to be constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to run from Lagos to Kano. Okheria also disclosed that preparations to begin construction of the Kaduna-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines were at an advanced stage.
The contract to build the Lagos-Kano railway was awarded to CCECC by the Obasanjo-led administration in 2006, but the project failed to get off the ground due to a lack of funds. It was again awarded to CCECC by Goodluck Jonathan in 2012, with the expectation that it would be completed in 2018.