The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, expressed the hope that the country within the next five to 10 years would be connected by rail.
Okhiria told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday that this would be achieved in line with the resolve and will of the current administration.
He added that Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi was also making relentless and tireless efforts to ensure that the country’s railway network was expanded to better serve Nigerians.
“I think in five years we hope someone can leave Lagos and get to Abuja in eight hours by rail.
“We have several projects on the eastern axis, and all these contracts have been signed, but the finance people are looking for the funds necessary to ensure the relocation of the contractors on sight.
“We also have the Calabar to Lagos contract, the coastal railway, we also have the Itape-Warri, which is being completed to link Itape to Abuja.
“So if you link Itape to Abuja, that means people can leave Warri in Kano because the Kano-Kaduna is currently going on, the training is in place and with the schedule, hopefully by December of this year, the track would have been laid.
“Additionally, the eastern line has an extension which when it arrives in Benin will come to Agbor, Agbor to Onitsha, Onitsha to Awka, Awka to Enugu and Abakaliki.
“And we also have plans to connect the high seas to River State and then connect Owerri and back to Enugu. And from Damaturu we also do the one that goes to Maiduguri, we just hope the economy improves and we we will be able to get funding,” Okhiria said.
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), he said the country could benefit greatly from the agreement with the right policies and programs.
He said: “If we defend the market and are able to expand so that we have road, rail, the economy can move smoothly and you have an easy valuation of goods and services.
“And rail being the cheapest and safest way to go about it, I think we’re on the right part.”