The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, has described the claims by the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration that a high speed Abuja-Lagos rail service will begin operations within three years as a hoax.
According to the campaign organization, having an effective rail service would reduce the cost of moving goods and services within the country.
The campaign organization, however, said although the envisaged Lagos-Abuja line, as proposed by the Minister of Transport, was most desirable, it was the height of irresponsibility for a senior member of government to tell such “outlandish lies” and give false hopes all in a bid to score cheap political points.
This was contained in a statement by the campaign’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday.
Shehu explained that a Public Private Partnership agreement to build and operate a rail line would take at least two years to negotiate and bring to financial closure.
Meanwhile, the Jonathan administration had yet to even commence negotiations with anybody on the project.
Part of the statement reads: “Before they can start construction, they will need to secure the right of way and pay land compensation along that corridor. This could take years to accomplish.
“Then they will have to construct the line. But a look at the government’s record only confirms that this is nothing but a pipe dream. Just 186km Abuja to Kaduna, an ordinary standard gauge line, has taken six years to construct and it is not even finished yet, regardless of their false claims of completion.
“Ajaokuta to Warri has taken the government nearly 30 years. Just the last 27km has taken this government six years and it is not finished yet.
“Rehabilitation of existing rail lines, which they promised would take 10 months, took them four years and they are still not finished yet”.
The campaign organisation added, “Is it the 600-km electrified rail tracks that they can build in three years?
“Then they have to order the rolling stock and operations equipment. These are not off-the-shelf items. They will need to be manufactured, over say another two years.
“A high speed rail line means electric trains, so they will need a dedicated IPP with transmission and distribution. When will that come together? What about the gas supply and infrastructure or they will import more expensive diesel?
“So how are they going to build a 600-km electrified high speed line and put it into operation in just three years?”
The APCPCO pointed out that it was either the minister was ignorant or he was just deceiving Nigerians.