After 30 years of neglect, the Federal Ministry of Transport recently issued the order that the Ajaokuta-Itapke-Warri rail line must be completed by 2018.
Giving the directive while investing the project site around Agbor and Abraka corridor in Delta state, the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi said that the projects must be ready for commercial use not later than June 2018
The rail line is a lofty commercial project that was developed about 30 years ago by Julius Berger and TEAM Nigeria Ltd (TNL) for the purpose of transporting limestone and other solid minerals within the Ajaokuta, Itapke and Warri industrial axes. It passes through Kogi, Edo and Delta states.
Apart from the neglect it suffered from successive governments, some parts of the line between Ajaokuta and Itapke have been vandalized.
“From Itapke down to Ajaokuta is bad. They’ve stolen everything. Most of the steel has been stolen. If cabinet approves, we will award to CCECC. We are hoping the CCECC will complete it before May 2018,” Amaechi said.
Amaechi assured that the vandalized areas of the rail line would be rehabilitated by CCECC while JB would complete the other facilities like the 22 over-pass bridges out of the 99 items, adding that TNL would also be included in the provision of engineering consultancy services.
According to the Minister, some funds were released last year to Julius Berger to complete work on the over-pass bridges, noting that JB would complete the ancillary services at the marshaling yards at Agbor Railway Village which include the locomotive workshop, the sewage treatment plant and the power plants.
Julius Berger has agreed to submit the cost estimates of the project in two weeks after Amaechi had given them the directive to come up with the entire cost of completing the rehabilitation.
As part of efforts to ensure the completion of the project by 2018, the Minister has ordered the Managing Director of Railways Properties Limited to hand over its estate at Agbor to the Ministry of Transportation for rehabilitation by Berge and TNL.