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Lawmaker says Western rail line will be ready before December

Channels Television  
Updated May 20, 2012

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Sahabi Ya’u on Sunday said that the Western Rail Line which is expected to connect Lagos, Ibadan, Jebba and Kaduna to Kano would be fully operational before the end of this year.

Brighter days ahead for Nigeria's railway.

Mr Ya’u who disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja, said that the Western Rail Line, which is 90 per cent completed, would have started functioning long time ago “if not for the Akere Bridge that collapsed’’.

“I assure Nigerians that the line would be in use before the end of this year; it’s just remaining some little finishing touches.’’

He said the committee would, in the next few days, embark on an oversight visit to the Eastern Rail Line project where “work is going on at a slow pace’’.

“In the next one or two weeks, we will be out on oversight duty and we will make sure that every kobo that is put into the railway project is spent wisely.’’

He said rehabilitation work had also started on some narrow gauge lines inherited from the colonial masters.

He said there was also budgetary provision for standard gauge rail lines from Lagos to Ibadan, and from Itakpe to Ajaokuta.

The Senator said that there was provision in the 2012 budget for the completion of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta standard gauge line, which will transport steel products to the ports.

He said the projects and the Abuja-Idu-Kaduna standard gauge line were expected to be completed before the end of this year, adding that the standard gauge lines were being constructed in phases because of the amount of money involved.

“We want to start the standard gauge in segmentation; it is being segmented instead of being awarded in whole because it is a very huge amount of money, which the country cannot afford at once.

“In the next few years, we will be having standard gauge rail lines running from Lagos to Kano and from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri,’’ he said.