The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, has expressed hope that the country, within the next five to 10 years would be linked by rail.
Okhiria told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday that this would be achieved in line with the determination and will of the present administration. He added that the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi was also making endless and tireless efforts to ensure the country’s rail network was expanded to better serve Nigerians.
I think in five years we will be hoping that somebody can leave Lagos and get to Abuja within eight hours by rail.
We have several projects on the eastern axis, and all those contracts have been signed but the finance people are looking for the funds to ensure the contractors move to sight.
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We also have the contract from Calabar to Lagos, the coastal rail, we also have the Etape-Warri, being completed to link from Itape to Abuja.
”So if you link Itape to Abuja, it means people can leave Warri to Kano because the Kano-Kaduna is presently ongoing, formation is being put in place and with the timeline, we are hoping that by December this year the track would have been laid.
”Also the eastern line has an expansion that when it gets to Benin it will come to Agbor, Agbor to Onitsha, Onitsha to Awka, Awka to Enugu, and to Abakaliki.
”And we also have plans to link the deep sea in River State and then link Owerri and come back to Enugu. And from Damaturu we also do the one going to Maiduguri, we just hope that the economy improves and we’re able to get funding,” Okhiria said.
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), he said the country could benefit largely from the agreement with the correct policies and programs.
He said: ”If we champion the market and we are able to extend so that we have road, rail, the economy can move smoothly and you have an easy rating of goods and services.
”And with rail being the cheapest means and the safest way to go about it, I think we are on the right part.”