By Christiana Ekpa
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday said that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation is working towards connecting the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory FCT to railway lines.
He made the disclosure during the presentation of a Brief on the Formation Objectives, Achievements, Challenges and Way Forward for Railway Property Management Company Limited (a subsidiary of Nigeria Railway Corporation NRC) at an interface with the House of Representatives Committee on Land, Transport on Tuesday at the National Assembly.
The Minister said the ministry’s drive to connect major cities in Nigeria through functional railway lines is part of the federal government’s roadmap enunciated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plans (ERGP) 2018-2020.
He told the lawmakers that work had commenced and is ongoing at Idu-Kaduna rail line for a standard gauge, adding that by the end of January 2019 the work on Iju- Lagos rail line would have been completed.
The Former Rivers State Governor also told the lawmakers that work had started in earnest at Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and added that the Owerri-Port Harcourt is ongoing to connect the eastern flank.
Other parts of the federation where he said work is ongoing smoothly connect the country with railways are:Damaturu-Maiduguri rail line, Makurdi-Enugu rail line, Jos-Bauchi and Gombe rail line and Itakpe-Ilorin rail line among others.
Amechi further said that plans are underway by the ministry to establish the Federal Universities of Transportation in Katsina and Rivers States.
He also hinted of plans to establish a deep sea ports at Bonny in Rivers State and Warri in Delta State.
At the hearing, one of the agencies under the ministry-the Railway Property Management Company Limited (a subsidiary of the Nigeria Railway Corporation NRC) further told the Committee that the NRC has the largest landed property in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of the agency Alhaji Abubakar Labaran had told the Committee that the company which was registered in October 7, 1996 at Corporate Affairs Commission manages NRC properties nationwide.
Chairman of the House Committee Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin and other lawmakers thereafter charged the Minister and his team to ensure all parts of the country benefits from the national railway inter-connectivity project.