Nigeria is set to receive $2.5-billion loan from the US Federal Government to assist government plans to rehabilitate and modernize the country’s dilapidated railway system, President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Wednesday.

In a nationwide broadcast on Wednesday, President Obasanjo said a total amount of $8.3-billion is needed for the first phase of this four-year project in order to upgrade railway lines from the country’s capital Lagos to Kano. China is contributing a $2-billion soft loan to assist in the funding for the first phase, which is due to commence later this month, reported Lagos-based This Day.

“This new approach will significantly impact on our people and their communities. It will ease movement, reduce reliance on vehicles and the airport, promote tourism and build on the foundations of integration, unity, cooperation, and social harmony that we have been working so hard to consolidate,” Obasanjo said.

The Federal Government will also support the Lagos Metropolitan Development Project by contributing $200-million interest free in International Development Association credit.

President Obasanjo said a combination of corruption, poor management, inadequate marketing and failure to introduce new technology resulted in the near collapse of the railway system in the continent’s most populous country.

“Today, we have a new vision, a new commitment, and a holistic strategic plan encompassing expansion and modernization of the Railway to be implemented within a 25-year time frame, he added.