The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved 1.488 billion dollars for the execution of the Lagos-Ibadan double track railway line modernisation project.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the approval followed a memorandum presented to the Council on the railway modernisation project.
The minister noted that the rail project was in 2006 awarded to CCECC Ltd, a Chinese company, but could not be completed due to paucity of funds.
Mr. Maku said that the project would now be executed in six phases, saying that the project would cover 2,733 kilometres.
“One major decision we made today was the modernisation of the Nigerian Railway system. For quite a while, Mr President has given a lot of attention to the transport sector, particularly the development of the railways.
“The projects in the railways took off with the rehabilitation of the existent old rail line system. Today, we took a major step to build a modern rail line between Lagos and Ibadan.
“The standard gauge line which we approved today in the council is going to run between Lagos, Ibadan, Ilorin, Minna, Kano and also there would be a phase that will take off from Minna to Abuja.
“The one from Abuja to Kaduna is already under construction.
“So, today the Council approved the project and this is a major step by Mr President to modernise the railway system.
According to him, the project, which is expected to be completed in 36 months, will generate more than 5,000 jobs in the country.
In his contribution, the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, said the project was part of the second segment of the Lagos-Ibadan railway modernisation project with a distance of 156.65 km.
Also briefing the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister of the FCT, Bala Muhammed, said the Council had also approved a variation of the scope of work for the contract for the design and construction of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit project (Lots 1 and 3) from 60.67 km to 45.245 km.
He said the cost of the project had also been revised from 841,645,898 dollars to 823,540,545.87 dollars.
He said the project, which would be executed in two segments, was an integral part of the FCT Transportation Master Plan, designed primarily to convey a large number of commuters and goods between the satellite towns.
“Today, council graciously considered and approved the variation on the scope of contract for the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project and approved the reduction of about 17 million dollars,” he said.
The minister disclosed that FCT had secured a soft loan from China for the speedy completion of the 45 km rail project in 2013.