The federal government of Nigeria has granted approval for the construction of the $5.3bn Ibadan to Kano standard gauge rail line project.

During the third Maritime Stakeholders Interactive Forum which held on Thursday, September 11, 2019, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi announced that: “Just yesterday, we got approval to complete the $5.3bn Ibadan to Kano rail project. We have also applied for funding to commence coastal rail for the Port Harcourt to Warri segment.” 

Division of labour

In a statement issued afterwards, the Federal Ministry of Transportation also revealed that the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, will be in charge of all maritime agencies, while Amaechi would focus on the railway sector.

Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and Gbemisola Saraki (State). [Israel Ibeleme]
Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and Gbemisola Saraki (State). [Israel Ibeleme]

Amaechi was quoted as saying that, “In my first term as minister, I completely abandoned the maritime sector to the heads of agencies. This time, that won’t be happening again.

“I have instructed that the Minister of State for Transportation should personally supervise the maritime agencies, while I just oversee what is happening.”

A single window maritime sector

Amaechi said he had discussed issues bordering on maritime safety with President Muhammadu Buhari and assured his listeners that by next year, the country will have a single window in the maritime sector.

He said, “There are two things I discussed with Mr. President that I will be focusing on in this second term as minister, and there are maritime security and the single window project.

“I have assured the government that by the end of 2020, we should have the single window at our maritime sector.

Amaechi orders two additional coaches on Abuja-Kaduna railway to meet increasing demand (Pulse)
Amaechi orders two additional coaches on Abuja-Kaduna railway to meet increasing demand (Pulse)

“On maritime security, I have told the Israeli firm HSLI that they are too slow. By now, they should have launched. I want to know the situation of things with the aspect of security on our maritime space.”

The Buhari administration has listed reviving a comatose rail sector and rebuilding the country’s decrepit infrastructure as key focus areas in its ‘next level’ agenda.