The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, made it known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that negotiations were ongoing for the concessioning of the narrow gauge lines across the country to General Electric (GE).
Amaechi said that the agreement would be signed before January 2017.
The Minister said, “We are negotiating to concession the old narrow gauge lines from Lagos, Kano, Funtua, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe to Borno. The entire western and eastern lines will be rehabilitated but we will concession the project to GE and they are bringing in two billion dollars to embark on the project.
“If we concession the lines to them and they run it with their money, then you can be rest assured that movement of goods will continue but at a slower speed.”
In addition, Amaechi said that the concessioning would be for a period of 20 to 25 years, adding that GE would run it after reviving the lines and provide coaches on all the revived lines. He said that the first segment of the Lagos-Kano Rail Line project to be completed would be Lagos-Ibadan for economic reasons and to decongest Lagos. Also, according to him, the 1.56 kms double gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail line will be completed in 36 months adding that by early 2017, the Kano-Kaduna rail line project will commence.
NAN reports that the Lagos-Kano standard gauge is a planned from Lagos port to Kano, near the Niger border.