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Contractors still out of site on PH-Maiduguri rail project due to Boko Haram

The managing director of Nigerian railway Corporation (NRC), Engineer Fidet Okhiria has explained why reconstruction activities are faster on the western flank of the country than the eastern axis.

In an exclusive interview in Lagos with Business Hilights during stakeholders Breakfast Meeting on the promotion of business development at the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, he said “But for the raging insurgency, the same level reconstruction activities being recorded along the Lagos-Kano rail scheme would have been replicated on Port Harcourt-Maiduguri flank of the country.

He said “There is no plan to abandon the axis, but for security reasons, in fact, the contractor had left the site”.

Okhiria revealed that the contractor had suffered serious human losses working on that axis, but maybe it was not reported. “Some of the staff of the handling company had become victims of attacks and the contractor considered it necessary to leave the site, pending when normalcy will return on the axis.”

“However, some works are ongoing around safe portions along the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway,” NRC chief noted.

Besides, the Federal Government earlier in the week maintained that despite the challenges facing the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the facility would be put to use by January 2019.

The government said it had adopted carefully considered measures to holistically tackle the challenges of obstruction caused by water, gas and sewage pipes, adding that Nigerians would start enjoying the rail line from the first month of next year.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, gave the assurance after the monthly meeting of the Lagos-Ibadan Rail line Project Steering Committee at the Ibadan Railway Yard, Ibadan, Oyo State.

According to him, “This contract is for three years and we are doing it within one year and two months. Our target is December 2018, but at most in January 2019, Nigerians will start to enjoy the dividends of democracy.”

Amaechi recalled that based on the present challenges being experienced on the project; a committee was set up chaired by the Board Chairman of the NRC, Usman Abubakar, with representatives from the Nigerian Army, NRC, Lagos State Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and CCECC as members.

Amaechi added that the committee would ensure that all the challenges were resolved, noting that the stakeholders knew that December 2018 was the deadline for the completion of the project.

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