There probably will be no Buhari Legacy project as massive as this one. This project will touch fourteen (14) States – Rivers, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Benue, Plataeu, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno States.
The rail line is 1,443-kilometres (897-miles), it starts from the southeastern oil hub of Port Harcourt and terminates at the rich agro North Eastern city of Maiduguri. The rail line is expected to link Nigeria’s industrial and agricultural hubs, facilitating the easy movement of people, goods and services.
President Buhari approved a whopping $US 3.02bn for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of this line – which is known as the Eastern Line.
The project includes the construction of new branch lines from Port Harcourt to Bonny and Owerri, and from Gombe to Damaturu and Gashua. A connection with the standard gauge network will also be built at Kafanchan.
President Buhari said the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line will revive the once-vibrant Eastern railway corridor. The Rail line is to feed two other massive projects – the New Bonny Deep Sea Port and a third project, The Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt.
At the virtual ground-breaking ceremony in a statement by Mr Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to the President, he further said the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by the three projects. He noted that the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway reconstruction project with new branch lines to Owerri, Imo state and Damaturu, Yobe state will raise the country’s economy to the world stage.
In the President’s own words, “The connection of the railway to a new seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the continental free trade area. The sum of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of these projects includes the creation of massive employment locally. In addition, there will be further utilisation of local contents and technology transfer, increase in internally generated revenue and would serve as a fulcrum for the achievement of the federal government planned integrated development masterplan. The funding of the railway is through a loan to fund 85% project cost and the federal government contribution of 15% as counterpart funding.”
He also said the Bonny deep seaport and the railway industrial park are to be constructed through direct investments from Chinese partners and international financing agencies.
Buhari further urged industrialists, manufacturers and businesses to take advantage of the infrastructure in planning for the expansion and the building of new factories when the rail line is completed.
The three projects are being developed through direct investment by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited with a total investment portfolio of $700 million.
The trains on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line will run at 60-80 kilometres per hour and 80-100 kilometres per hour for freight and passenger respectively.
Information Courtesy: Construction Review & Daily Trust.
Consultant & Coordinator
The President Muhammadu Buhari