Why Nigerian Government Suspended Work On Eastern Rail Line

Why Nigerian Government Suspended Work On Eastern Rail Line

The Federal Government of Nigeria has explained the suspension of work on the eastern rail line by China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCEC).

Nigerian Government said the suspension was “due to insecurity along the corridor and vandalisation of the rail infrastructure.”

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo said while on a project inspection in Port Harcourt on Saturday that “CCEC complained of attacks on its workers along the Abia State axis.”

According to a statement in Abuja by the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Wric Ojiekwe, the Minister lamented the attacks, and called on the media and the judiciary to collaborate with the Ministry to expose and prosecute the perpetrators.

He said their prosecution would serve as deterrent to others.

The Minister also described as fake news, claims that funds meant for the eastern rail line has been diverted to other projects.

He said: “It was fake news because the progress made so far on the project is from the 15 percent of the counterpart funding by Nigeria, while the 85 percent to be provided by foreign partners is still negotiated”.

A year ago, the President virtually performed the groundbreaking of the Eastern Rail Corridor, which is designed to stimulate economic activities in the 14 states it covers.

The then Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, said the $1.96 billion Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Railway Corridor, would link the five Southeast states of Abia, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu as well as nine others.

The other states are: Rivers, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi and Gombe.

He explained that the connecting would be from Port Harcourt to Bonny where there would be a deep seaport, and Port Harcourt to Owerri, Aba, Umuahia and Enugu.

He added that the deep blue sea project conceived by the Federal Government to fight piracy in Nigeria’s waters was being delayed by those benefitting from insecurity and raking in billions of dollars on the lease of vessels to the Nigerian Navy.