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Reps want FG to continue East-West rail project

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to reverse its earlier decision and continue the East–West Rail Line Project.

This was sequel to a motion by a member from Anambra State Mr. Dozzie Nwanko at plenary on Tuesday.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the project was stopped by the Federal Ministry of transportation in 2022, despite the concluded arrangement with Standard Chartered Bank and the Federal Government’s thirty billion
Naira commitment to the contractor.

“The House notes that the Federal Executive Council had, in April 2017, granted approval for the construction
of 1,400km Standard Gauge East-West Coastal Rail Line Project linking Lagos-Ore-Benin-Sapele
Warri-Yenagoa-PortHarcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar-Akamkpa-Ikom with a branch line from Benin to
Asaba–OnitshaPort Harcourt-Onne Deep Seaport.

“Also notes that the opting out of Exim Bank of China, the contractor to execute the project, the
Federal Government, in March 2021, made arrangements for eleven billion Dollar ($11bn)alternate
counterpart funding with Standard Chartered Bank out of the Fourteen Billion, Four Million Dollar
($14.4bn) required to execute the project”, he said .

Mr. Dozzie Nwanko said in August 2021, the Federal Executive Council approved the award of a contract valued at $11.17 billion for the project.

According to him, the non-completion of the rail project has aggravated the problems of travelers who
suffer delay due to the deplorable state of the road coupled with checkpoints along Calabar-Lagos
road

Mr. Nwanko added that the inability to complete the project within the projected six years period would
continue to put pressure on the two sea ports located in Port-Harcourt and Lagos and the existing
roads

Adopting the motion, the House called on the Federal Government to review its 25-Year Railway Strategic Plan; part of which is to unbundle and commercialize the Nigeria Railway Corporation.

The House also mandated its Committee on Land Transportation to liaise with Federal Ministry of
Transportation and other relevant government agencies to ensure that the East-West Coastal
Rail Project is captured in the 2023 budget estimates.

Reporting By Ibrahim Shehu; Editing by Marian Benjamin