Port-Harcourt – Aba rail line to now commence operations in April 2024 – FG

The Federal Government has announced the postponement of the commencement date for the operation of train services on the Port-Harcourt-Aba section of the Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge line to April 2024.

The Port Harcourt-Aba rail project, which is part of the larger Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project, and initiated by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, was meant to commence operations by the end of March 2024.

This was made known by the Minister for Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, on Friday, March 29, 2024, shortly after inspecting the reconstructed rail tracks.

Alkali, who expressed regret over the postponement and appealed for patience, said this was due to the delay by the contractor handling the project, adding that it would deliver it in April.

He also directed the contractor handling the project to ensure that the rail line was linked to the Port Harcourt and Onne ports in the state.

Alkall said, “This is the second time I am in Port Harcourt for the inspection of the rail line, since I assumed office as the Minister of Transportation.”

“They gave us March for commencement of operation, but am sure while they were doing the inspection there were some observations, and because of exigencies and technicalities of the work, it has been extended to April, because March is already 29 today.”

“They had given us a definite commitment that by April, they will be able to put Port Harcourt to Aba into use, and it is not only Port Harcourt to Aba alone, I am trying also to get the commitment of how soon they can link the rail line to Port Harcourt Port and also Onne Port, so that we would be able to start from the two seaports to Aba.”

“Not really that I am not satisfied with the level of work done, but you know when somebody has given you a deadline, and the deadline didn’t really work, of course you will be dissatisfied with the failed deadline he gave you ab-initio. But if somebody promises you March and is able to deliver in April, I think you can manage with that.”

The minister further noted that the President Tinubu-led Federal government was serious and committed to delivering all ongoing projects across the country.

He said, “Because of the commitment of the government, we have decided to start with the 15 percent component of the federal government to fix Port Harcourt to Aba section of the railway, and we are now trying to fix the line to Port Harcourt and Onne Ports.

On the Calabar-Enugu-Abuja standard gauge rail line, which the past administration also awarded, the Minister said efforts were ongoing to finalize the funding.

He added,  “We are trying to sort out the financing because there is no way you can start the project without making all arrangements for the finances, so as soon as the finance is ready, we are going to start.

“As I said earlier, this is the second time we are coming here for inspection, and Port Harcourt is in this part of the country, and that alone shows how serious and committed we are in delivering the projects in all parts of the country.

He, however, disclosed that the Ibadan to Abuja section of the standard gauge rail line was currently being sorted out by the government.

He advised the public to remain calm and support the government as it remained resolute in bringing succor to the people.

Source: Nairametrics

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