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Portharcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge: Foreign partners funding, insecurity hampers rehabilitation

Paul Ogbuokiri

 As work on the rehabilitation of the old Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge rail line delays, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has blamed insecurity and vandalism of railway properties along the corridor.

This came as the Minister has disclosed that funding is also a major setback on the project as the little progress made so far on the project popularly referred to ‘Eastern rail line’ is from the 15 per cent counterpart funding by the Federal Government while the 85 per cent to be provided by foreign partners is still negotiated.

Sambo spoke during the Ministerial inspection tour of the project on Friday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He disclosed that the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCEC), the contractor handling the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the project, has complained of attacks on its workers along the Abia State axis.

Sambo, who was obviously very displeased by these acts, condemned it in strong terms, pointing out that in the history of Nigeria, no administration has invested more in rail infrastructure like the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He used the opportunity to call on the media and the judiciary to collaborate with the Ministry to ensure that these economic saboteurs are not only exposed but prosecuted and sentenced speedily to serve as a deterrent to others.

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