In March 2021, former President Muhammed Buhari launched the $3.2 billion Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge railway reconstruction project. Rotimi Amaechi, the former minister of transportation, highlighted that this rail line aimed to connect multiple states by rail, spanning Rivers, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, and Borno.
In April 2023, the federal government announced the commencement of the reconstruction of the eastern rail line, with a focus on the Port Harcourt-Enugu section as the initial target. However, by September 2023, concerns were raised by the federal government regarding the slow pace of the reconstruction.
Notably, the project saw progress as China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) recently declared the completion of track laying on the Port Harcourt to Aba section of the eastern narrow gauge railway. John Zhao, an official of CCECC, shared this achievement in a post published on the company’s official website on December 29, 2023, stating, “New year, new progress! The track laying from Port Harcourt to Aba on the Nigeria Eastern Narrow-Gauge Railway project has been completed by #CCECC.”
Fidet Okhiria, the managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), had earlier indicated that the track laying from Port Harcourt to Aba rail section would be ready in 15 days. The reconstruction of the eastern rail line as a narrow gauge had sparked diverse opinions, with some stakeholders expressing the view that it should have been a standard gauge. The completion of the Port Harcourt to Aba rail line, as announced by CCECC, marks a significant milestone in the ongoing railway reconstruction project.