The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of $11.17 billion to link all Nigeria’s coastal cities by rail in six years and a further $1.48 billion to repair some dilapidated refineries in the country.

Disclosing this, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed told State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Commenting on the development, Mohammed said that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, presented two memos which had to do with Federal Government’s commitment to expanding and consolidating on the rail project.

Explaining further, Mohammed said:“The first one actually has to do with the Kano-Jibia rail and the other one has to do with the Port Harcourt-Maidugiri rail. Actually what was approved today was funding to ensure that work starts immediately on those two rails.

“And then, also another memo that was approved today was the ratification of the president’s approval for the award of contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Standard Gauge.’’

Mohammed said that under the former administration, approval was given but nothing was done. He said: “Today, the council has given approval to commence the Lagos-Calabar Coastal rail. This particular route is very important because after the Lagos-Kano route, this Lagos-Calabar Coastal route actually will link all the coastal cities in the country.

“Actually, the proposed route alignment is as follows; it will go from Lagos to Sagamu, Sagamu to Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Ode to Ore, Ore to Benin City, Benin-City to Sapele, Sapele to Warri, Warri to Yenogoa, Yenegoa to Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt to Aba, Aba to Uyo, Uyo to Calabar, Calabar to Akamkpa to Ikom, Obudu Ranch with branch lines from Benin-City to Agbo, Ogwashi-ukwu, Asaba, Onitsha and Onitsha Bridge and then Port Harcourt to Onne Deep Sea Port.

This particular route is very important especially for our coastal economy; the cost of the project is 11. 17 billion dollars,’’ he concluded.

Furthermore, Mohammed stated that the project is expected to be completed in six years.

On the other hand, also gathered that FEC also approved the sum of $1.48 billion for the repair and maintenance of two refineries in Warri and Kaduna. Commenting on this, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva noted that the project would run in three phases of 21, 23 and 33 months,

According to him, $897.68 million will be spent to overhaul the Warri refinery, while $586.9m has been allocated for the Kaduna refinery.

Additionally the Honourable minister revealed that the contract for the rehabilitation of the refineries was awarded to Messers Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Limited and that about 15% of the project sum of $1.48 billion had been disbursed to the contractor.