Mu’azu Sambo, the country’s minister of transportation, has said that the federal government will borrow money to speed up the completion of the nation’s rail projects.
Sambo revealed this yesterday in Abuja when delivering the ministry’s scorecard.
“We don’t have the money. We are going to borrow anyway. So, we thought whatever the standard gauge will give us, the narrow gauge will also give us,” he said.
In response to a question on why the South-East was only given access to small gauge rail lines, the minister said that the region had not yet been given less priority in the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led administration’s rail projects.
“There is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to marginalise the South-East and if anything, that is the one part of the country that has benefited the most from PMB infrastructure projects.
“The narrow gauge you probably are referring to is the one that runs from Maiduguri, all the way through Jos, up to Port Harcourt.
“If that is the one you are talking about, first of all, I will let you know that Maiduguri, Jos, and several other cities the rail lines traversed are not in the South-East.”
Additionally, he mentioned the narrow gauge contract “that was being evaluated by my predecessor in office.” This contract had two options: “either to rehabilitate the small gauge at a cost of around $3 billion or to do a standard gauge at a cost of about $12 billion.”
The narrow gauge would be able to carry more merchandise, he continued, adding that the main distinction between the two gauges was speed. He then listed the advantages and disadvantages of the corridor.
The minister said that the South-East region had benefited the most because “the Buhari-led administration erected the second Niger Bridge that had eluded all prior governments”