CHIBUIKE Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation says the government has borrowed a total of about $ 2.5bn towards the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project cost.
The funds were borrowed from the Export-Import Bank of China, one of three institutional banks in the East Asian country chartered to implement the state policies in the industry, foreign trade, economy, and foreign aid to other developing countries, and provide policy financial support so as to promote the export of Chinese products and services.
The Lagos-Ibadan line is a double-track standard gauge rail, the first of its kind in the West Africa region. It runs from Nigeria’s economic hub and most populous city, Lagos, to Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, with a total of 10 stations.
With trains operating at a maximum speed of 150 km/h, the infrastructure, according to the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCEC), cut the travel time between the two cities to two hours.
This project is the second segment of the new 2,733km Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway line project. The latter is a modernisation initiative in the West African country aimed to replace the existing British-built Cape narrow gauge system, which has a lower design capacity and in a deteriorated condition, with a wider standard gauge system and allowing high-speed train operations on the railway network.
The Minister explained that the government made a decision to borrow $ 2.5bn towards Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project cost, which was not part of the original plan, to extend the rail line to the nation’s seaports for ‘the economic benefit associated with it’.
‘We had to take about 45 kilometres rail from Ebute-Metta into Apapa seaport. There is an additional one connecting Tincan Island Seaport to Apapa,’ he explained.