The Nigerian Federal Government is set to begin construction of a 156.65km standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan.

To be built with an investment of around N458bn ($1.5bn) from the Nigerian and Chinese governments, the Lagos-Ibadan rail project will be developed by China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC).

The Lagos-Ibadan line is the first part of a new 2,733km Lagos-Kano standard gauge line.

In 2006, CCECC was awarded the contract to build the Lagos-Kano line at a cost of $8.3bn. However, the deal could not be executed due to lack of funds.

"Once complete, the Lagos-Ibadan line will co-exist with the old narrow gauge track."

Nigerian Railway managing director Fidet Okheria was reported by The Punch newspaper as saying that the federal government has already released its share of fund for the project, and China will release its share by the end of this month.

Nigeria Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi was reported by the newspaper as saying that the contract was originally awarded for $11.917bn and following renegotiations the contract sum was reduced to $11.117bn, resulting in savings of $800m.

Once complete, the Lagos-Ibadan line will co-exist with the old narrow gauge track.

Construction of the project is scheduled to be completed over 18 months in a six-phase manner.