The contract for the double track line was approved at a government ministers' meeting held in Abuja on July 18, almost six years after the project was stalled by a shortage of available funds.

Transport minister Mr Idris Umar says work will be completed within three years, although he did not explain how it will be financed.

The project is the first stage of a five-phase modernisation of the 1200km Lagos – Jebba – Zaria – Kano line.

The government of President Mr Goodluck Jonathan is seeking to amend the Railway Act of 1955 to allow for private investment in country's underdeveloped railway network.