Nigeria backs $11bn Lagos-Calabar rail link

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Railway bridge at night

Government approves major investment to connect the nation’s economic powerhouse to every coastal city in the country.

The Nigerian government’s Federal Executive Council will provide more than $11bn of funding for a 1,400km coastal railway that has been under proposal for many years.

The news comes as Africa’s most populace nation steps up work expand its railways and strengthen economic prosperity. It has recently completed the development of the Abuja-Kaduna railway and the Lagos-Ibadan railway and the new line is seen as new breakthrough moment on that wider journey.

The huge coastal railway programme will connect Nigeria’s and West Africa’s largest commercial city, Lagos, to Calabar, stopping at Ore, Benin, Warri, Ugheli, Onitsha, Asaba, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt and Uyo. Plans also include connecting it to every major port along Nigeria’s almost 1,000 miles of coast.

The project holds a particular status in Nigeria as the first east-west railway. Most of its present rail network orientates from north to south but this will skirt the coast and is likely to become one of the country’s most important transport infrastructures, carrying millions of tonnes of cargo, as well as passengers, the length of its route.

High capacity is seen as a vital improvement to the country as it works to reduce its dependence on heavily congested highways that have reached or are nearing capacity.