Nigeria's government on Friday said making existing rail line networks functional and construction of new ones asre top on its priority list in redefining transportation system in the country.
The government in a series of tweet highlighting situation report of Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri rail line project said previous administrations only conceived the idea but failed to bring it to fruition.
"Conceived in the 1980s, construction commenced in 1987. Subsequent administrations failed to complete it and put it to use. President Buhari takes it as a priority project and is committed to completing it by 2019." Nigeria government said.
The government stated that the rail line project was "Originally envisioned as a freight-only line, to link key industries and ports in Nigeria’s iron ore and steel producing belt", but has being reconfigured into a Passenger and Freight rail line, to form the Central Line of Nigeria’s National Rail Network.
It added that the 327km standard-gauge rail line is to link Itakpe in Kogi State to Ajaokuta and then on to Warri, Delta State (Itakpe to Ajaokuta, 50km; Ajaokuta to Warri, 277km) is one of government plans to make rail transportation functional.
"There are plans to in the near future extend the line to reach Lokoja and Abuja, where it will connect with the Kaduna-Abuja Rail Line.
"12 Stations in all, across Kogi, Edo and Delta States. Agbor in Edo State will be the central hub of the line, home to the biggest passenger station, as well as a Railway Village. Agbor is 60km from Asaba, 70km from Benin and 75km from Onitsha." Nigeria government said.
The government expressed optimism that when completed the rail lines will reduce travel time between the Niger Delta and the Northern part of Nigeria, as well as open up several towns and villages along the rail corridor.