A rail alternative: Nigeria's plans on track?

Author:Oyono, Freddy
Position:Letter to the editor

I read the article regarding Nigerian government plans for a massive overhaul of the country's rail system with astonishment (Abuja Promises Rail Revolution, November issue, African Business).

My shock was that your magazine, which is so highly respected throughout the continent, could be taken in by this latest theatrical ploy, complete with smoke and mirrors, being perpetrated on a long-suffering Nigerian populace.

The country has had thousands of promises made by successive administrations regarding improving the state's rail system and yet precisely nothing has been done.

Are we expected to believe that this time, these policy announcements will really bear fruit? Will we truly be given an alternative to our pothole-riven road systems, notable for go-slows and intermittent police checkpoints collecting taxes every few miles? Somehow I doubt it, even with the assistance of our new Chinese friends who are about to exchange their engineering know-how and technical assistance for tanker loads of best-quality crude oil.

More likely, what will happen is exactly what has happened every other time a fine plan for the railways has...

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