The Federal Government has May 2016 as deadline for the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail way to enable it commence commercial services.
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi, who announced this on Thursday during a tour to the Idu Train Station Abuja, said that the essence of the visit is to assess the readiness of the railway and the facilities for commercial activities.
“By May, we are certain that President Muhammadu Buhari will kindly accept to flag off the commercial activities of this railway. That way those who want to go to Kaduna by rail can actually use our services,” said Amaechi.
He said he has informed the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to build a railway University if the Lagos-Calabar route will be built so as to train more Nigerians to avoid dumping technology on the people, adding that the university will help impart expertise and transfer of technology and skills.
While stating that the job is hundred per cent completed, the minister noted that the hindrance is compensation and demolition of the Daughters of Charity Hospital, Byazhin in Kubwa.
He explained that the government has agreed to compensate them with N362 million and another plot of land and has urged the CCECC to build whatever the money can take for them and donate an extra building or two to the hospital.
“I do office work and I engage in reality. What you saw today is engaging them in reality. When we got there, the company said, they have been delayed for two years and the temporary alignment is slowing down the activities and if we have to start this thing by May, it means that right away we have to lay a new track and take off the alignment and I said lets go and engage the hospital and we engaged them and resolved all the differences. What is left is for me to act,” Amaechi said.
“With regards to the budget, we have N120 billion but we need more than that because you know the situation is very bad and the President has taken the rail way construction as a priority project. So, we have a total of N150 billion. N60 billion is for the Lagos – Kano which should commence this year with standard guage, the Lagos – Calabar will take another N60 billion. It is a counterpart payment.
“The government is implementing what it met from the past administration, we are not among those who will cancel and bring back our own ideas. Amendments are being made not only in the area of cost but also on relevant facilities, factories that will manufacture wagons and coaches in Nigeria are very important”.