Sen. Saidu Alkali, the minister of transport, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Ltd.’s poor progress on the renovation of the Eastern Railway Corridor.
The minister expressed his disappointment on Friday when he inspected the status of the work being done to rehabilitate the Eastern railway line to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.Alkali lamented the fact that just 47% of the project had been completed between Port-Harcourt and the Aba Section as opposed to the full route from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“If you cannot complete Port-Harcourt to Aba which is 63km in 12 months, how would you be able to complete over 2000km in 36 months?”
Alkali voiced shock at the CCECC’s use of antiquated manual alignment procedures to install track in the twenty-first century.He claims that out of a project’s 85% Chinese funding and 15% Federal Government funding, only the Federal Government’s 15% fund allocation has provided funding for the project up to this point.
The minister said that he would return to the ministry to determine what was possible within the parameters of the law and that he would enforce whatever the law offered on the concerns noticed.Alkali, on the other hand, said that connecting the two seaports in Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri and promoting regional trade at a far lower cost were two of the most notable advantages.
The minister gave the zone’s residents the reassurance that when passenger rail service did start, it would significantly lessen the impact of the loss of fuel subsidies on Nigerians who would utilise the service.Mr. C. Ching, a representative of the CCECC, briefed the Minister and his group and stated that the project’s initial phase, which ran from Port-Harcourt to Aba, would be completed by December 2023.
The CCECC’s representative informed the minister that there would be adequate supplies on hand to finish the project by the deadline and added that special “anti-theft” bolts and nuts had been added to the project to deter vandalism.