The Federal Government says the South-East zone of the country Is not marginalised in the rail projects being executed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, stated this on Monday in Abuja while presenting the achievements of his ministry at the second edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard 2015-2023 organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
Reacting to a question on why the South-East was restricted only to narrow gauge rail lines, the minister said it was a wrong conclusion.
Sambo said: “There is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to marginalise the South-East and if anything, that is the one part of the country that has benefited the most on PMB infrastructure projects.
“The narrow gauge you probably are referring to is the one that runs from Maiduguri, all the way through Jos, up to Port-Harcourt.
“If that is the one you are talking about, first of all, I will let you know that Maiduguri, Jos and several other cities the rail lines traversed are not in the southeast.”
According to the minister, the second option then was the narrow gauge contract, saying, ” that was being considered by my predecessor in office, two options were open to the ministry.
“Either to rehabilitate the narrow gauge at a cost of about three billion dollars or to do a standard gauge at a cost of about 12 billion billion.
“We don’t have the money, we are going to borrow anyway. So, we thought whatever the standard gauge will give us, the narrow gauge will also give us.”
Sambo added that looking at the pros and cons of the corridor, the narrow gauge would convey more cargos
He added that the only fundamental difference between the narrow gauge and the standard gauge was the speed.
Justifying his position that the South-East region benefited the most, the minister said it is Buhari’s administration that constructed the second Niger bridge that had defied all previous governments.
He said the bridge would be inugurated by Buhari before the end of the year.