… As President Buhari embarks on 4-day medical visit to London Today***
The Federal Government has signed a $45million interim phase agreement with General Electric (GE) for the concession of narrow gauge rail lines in the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, putting the total money to be invested in the project as N2.7billion, after the whole agreement was concluded.
The interim phase he further explained, include the rehabilitation of the rail lines, the management of the transportation and Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) participation in commercial activities.
“We came to conclusion on the narrow gauge, the interim phase of the narrow gauge, to enable us begin the initial rehabilitation of the rail lines, so that we can commerce commercial activities.
“Both in terms of cargoes, freight and transportation, we have signed the initial and temporary agreement.
“We have also agreed on the main agreement which will cost $45million for the interim phase and $2.7billion for the entire project.”
Amaechi said with the interim agreement, GE would commence commercial activities for both cargoes and passengers before October, and would especially bring in 10 coaches and 100 wagons, in addition to 10 locomotives and coaches which would be repaired also.
He, however, said that by January GE intends to complete the whole interim process and move to the main phase.
Commenting on the issue of alleged racketeering at the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, the Minister said that he would investigate the matter, stating that he would be surprised if it was on.
“I will investigate the matter because I will be surprised. We have provided additional coaches to increase the time they run, so I will be surprised, allow me investigate the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will Tuesday begin a four-day trip to the United Kingdom on medical vacation, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu said.
The presidential aide who disclosed this in Abuja on Monday that this was in line with his doctors desire.
“In the course of the technical stop-over for aircraft maintenance in London on his way back from Washington last week, the President had a meeting with his doctor.
“The Doctor requested the President to return for a meeting which he agreed to do”, Shehu stated, adding that the President, who will return on May 12, would later undertake a two-day visit to Jigawa, which was earlier postponed because of the All Progressives Congress’s Ward Congresses.
He said the visit would last between May 14 and Tuesday May 15.
President Buhari first went on medical vacation on 19 January 2017. He returned later than he planned, declaring that he had never felt so ill in his life.
The President returned for treatment on May 7, 2017 and came back home 103 days after.