THE government of Nigeria has approved the $US 11.17bn Lagos - Calabar coastal standard-gauge line, and confirmed contracts for the Kano - Jibia and Port Harcourt - Maiduguri lines.

The projects were announced by the minister of information and culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who briefed local journalists following a Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by vice president, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, on August 4. Mohammed said two memos were approved during the meeting, including the ratification of the president’s approval for the award of contract for the Lagos - Calabar line.

“This particular route is very important because after the Lagos - Kano route, this Lagos - Calabar Coastal route will link all the coastal cities in the country,” he says.

The government announced in July that the London-based Standard Chartered Bank had agreed to provide $US 11bn in financing for the line, after an earlier agreement with the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China fell through. The Federal Ministry of Transport signed an agreement with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in May 2014 to build the line.

The line will run from Lagos - Sagamu - Ijebu-Ode - Ore - Benin City - Sapele - Warri - Yenogoa - Port Harcourt - Aba - Uyo - Calabar - Akamkpa  - Obudu Ranch, with branch lines from Benin-City to Agbor, Ogwashi-ukwu, Asaba, Onitsha and Onitsha Bridge and from Port Harcourt to Onne Deep Sea Port. The project will be constructed in two phases, with the first phase running between Calabar and Port Harcourt, while the second phase will run between Port Harcourt and Lagos through Onitsha.

The project will include the construction of 1402km of line, as well as 22 stations and ancillary facilities, administrative space, and level crossings. Other works include the installation of safety systems, electrical systems, lighting systems, and signalling systems, as well as the laying of tracks and electricity lines.

The second memo approved the funding for work on the Kano - Jibia and Port Harcourt - Maiduguri lines, construction of which is underway.

For detailed data on rail projects in Africa and around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro.