The Federal Government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on the completion of Warri-Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Baro-Abuja railway line.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government while Chen Xiao Xing, Vice President of CRCC, signed for the company in Abuja.
Amaechi said that the central railway line was the backbone of rail transportation in Nigeria, adding that the agreement was for its completion and extension to Warri town, port and refinery.
He said the rail would extend northward from Eganyi-Jakura-Baro to Abuja.
The minister said the agreement included the construction and expansion of Warri Port, Deep Sea Port as well as the Industrial Park at Bonny Island.
“The central line is one of the most important rail lines that we have in Nigeria and I will be glad if we can partner with your corporation; we will commence negotiation once we get the approval from the president.
“It is part of the economic corridor in Nigeria where we have solid minerals, we have been working on that line for a long time and we will like to complete it,’’ Amaechi said.
Earlier, Xing said that it was a privilege to sign the agreement on the rail project.
He said that for Nigeria’s economy to grow, it must reduce importation and focus on industrialization which would lead to economic and social development.
“It is a privilege to be here again with the Minister of Transportation to sign MoU of this Ajaokuta – Abuja rail line, extending from Aladja to Warri Port, which was built 30 years ago but was not operational.
“For Nigeria’s economy to take-off, it must reduce importation because industrialisation is very important for economic and social development.
“If this project is completed in three years, other industries will develop,” said the CRCC boss.
He described Nigeria and China as strategic partners.