Jude Igwemezie, a Nigerian engineer, has won a whopping $500 million contract to construct train lanes in Iraq

A Nigerian engineer, Jude Igwemezie, has won a $500 million contract to build a monorail network in Iraq.

Mr. Igwemezie trained and lives in Canada; he also heads TransGlobim International, the engineering company that won the bid. The contract is to construct what is described as “a viable rail transportation network” for the city of Najaf. The network will connect three Islamic holy and historic mosques in Imam Ali, Kufa and Sahle.

Frustration of selling good ideas in Nigeria

An elated Mr. Igwemezie told NEXT in a telephone interview that the project is billed to be completed in three years, and will be built in two phases. The first phase, he said, will cover the design, construction and operation of the system while the second phase will involve the expansion of the system and its extension to the Najaf airport and the final phase.

Mr. Igwemezie, who said he has been involved in negotiation with Nigerian officials in the last 18 months to construct several rail lines in the country, disclosed that it took “only two months to get the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) executed with Iraqi officials”.

Hinting at his frustration to offer his services to Nigeria, Mr. Igwemezie said, “as a Diaspora person, I kept coming back, knocking, to help Nigeria. On the other hand I can’t knock forever.”

Problem of railway in Nigeria

Mr. Igwemezie, who wants to build a standard guage railway system from Lagos to Calabar, believes that Nigeria is a place where railway service is going to be “profitable and successful because of its size and population and because we have a demography similar to that in Europe”. However, he said, the bane of railway in Nigeria is that “we have brought the wrong people to help us”.

Gains of railway

Mr. Igwemezie, who lost his father in a road accident, believes that the railway line will take pressure off the roads and rid them of the unnecessary delays and loss of lives associated with road travel.

He described the Benin-Ore road as “a killing field”, and said with the construction of the East-West corridor, there is no reason why someone who lives in Benin cannot work in Lagos since it will only take two hours on an express line to get to Lagos from Benin.

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