The Federal Government said cost-effectiveness and paucity of funds were reasons it opted for the construction of a narrow-gauge railway on the eastern rail line against a standard gauge line.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said this on Sunday, in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr Taiye Edeni in response to the protests in some quarters.
According to him, the standard gauge line would cost approximately $11 billion to $14 billion to construct, while a narrow-gauge would cost about $3bn.
“The standard gauge line is between $11bn to $14bn to construct on the Eastern flag. The standard gauge as designed in Nigeria is 150km in terms of speed, operational speed is 120km, he said.
The minister who queried the deference between 120km and 100km said, “the narrow gauge is about $3.2bn dollars at 100km per hour.”
He further said the reason the ministry did not get the approval for the narrow gauge on time was that Buhari insisted on the standard gauge from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“My argument was if I can achieve the same length of rail with $3 billion why not take that first until when we get money, we can now go for the standard gauge,” he asked.