China and Nigeria have signed a US$8.3 billion contract to build a railway line between the African nation's capital of Lagos to Kano, its largest commercial city, AFP reported. According to the official Nigerian news agency, the main element of the contract is for the first phase of a railway modernization project. Due for completion in five years, it will be done by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and an Italian consultancy firm. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said the project was part of an integrated land, air and sea transportation system for the country. In addition to the south-north Lagos-Kano line, a second line will be built linking the southern oil city of Port Harcourt with the central city of Jos. A large part of a US$2.5 billion loan facility recently granted by China to Nigeria will be used to pay for the project.