The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has assured Nigerians, especially those in the South East geo-political zone of benefiting from the Standard Gauge Rail line being constructed by the Federal Government across the country, through linking of all zones.
Ameachi gave the assurance in Abuja on Wednesday, when he appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Land Transport, Local and Foreign Debts, chaired by Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
He explained that the allegation by South East leaders that the region was excluded in the on-going revitalization of rail projects by the Federal Government.
The Minister further reiterated that what was actually stalling the projects was the non-approval of the $30billion Foreign Loan request by the Federal Government by the National Assembly needed to construct the Standard Gauge Rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“We didn’t abandon any rail project. All the projects are there. The truth is that we can’t go to work without funds and that has to come when the Senate approves the $30billion loan request,” he said.
Responding to questions from Senate Committee members who were present, the Minister disclosed that that most of the Railway projects are to link the ports and when they are completed, the movement of cargos would be made easier by Rail, hence reducing pressures on the roads.
He noted that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail line was abandoned for about 34 years and has on Monday, 25th November, commenced free test run services which would run for a period of one month.