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Nigerian govt gives Chinese construction firm ultimatum over Kano, Port Harcourt railway projects

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The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has been given an ultimatum to meet its capital obligation to the railway construction of the Kano-Kaduna and the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri lines.

This was handed down by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, who said the Chinese financier had been given till October 30, to start disbursing their quota, which is 85 percent of the cost, while 15 percent was provided by the Federal Government.

Sambo made this known on Saturday during his inspection visit to the Lekki deep seaport in Lagos State.

CCECC’s failure to disburse funds for the construction had slowed works on the rail lines, which the former minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, warned of in February.

The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project was launched in March 2021, with the Kano-Kaduna rail project flagged off four months after. A year after, Sambo disclosed that CCECC hadn’t brought anything to the table.

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He said, “The CCECC have not brought anything to the table. I gave them a deadline which is October 30. If I don’t get that money on ground, I know what to advise Mr President to do.”

Meanwhile, Sambo praised the Lekki deep seaport project in Lagos, stating it will ease port operation and create jobs, “I am impressed and happy to be back here. This we know is the pride of all Nigerians — first deep sea port in West Africa that will take the largest ship in the world, have 16.5 meters depth, and will give us hundreds and thousands of jobs.

“Almost automated not fully but automated enough to make life easy for port operations — it is initiatives like this we want to encourage.

“That is why I did not hesitate when I came to the ministry and I saw a proposal of the Badagry deep seaport sitting on my table and took it immediately for approval.

“Also, the president is concerned about cargo evacuation at the port and does not want a repeat of the Apapa and TinCan port, and so, we cannot rely on the road alone which is not the best option.”

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