Senate Asks FG To Commence Rehabilitation Of Eastern Rail Line
The Senate has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, commence rehabilitation of the Eastern rail line.
This was even as the upper chamber mandated its Committee on Land Transport to interface with the relevant Ministry and agency.
These formed parts of resolutions reached during plenary on Tuesday sequel to the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC – Abia North).
In his presentation, Senator Kalu noted that one of the greatest challenges facing the nation as an emerging economy is poor infrastructural development, adding that, “the movement of goods and persons from one point to another is becoming very cumbersome, if not hazardous.”
According to him, the Federal Government in recognition of the fact that there is a dire need for transformation of the Nigerian Railway system into a more dynamic and functional one, encouraged the use of rail to reduce road traffic congestion problems and open up the sector to private sector investment.
“The Federal Government in 2017 entered into an agreement with General Electric, a Boston, United States-based company, under the Rehabilitation and the Concessioning of Western and Eastern Railway lines to connect Abia, Rivers, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Kaduna, Katsina, Enugu, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Borno, Yobe and Kano States.
“And while the Western lines of 1,126 km are from Lagos to Kano and to Nguru 230 km, Funtua, and Kaura Namoda 121 km. The Eastern lines are from Port Harcourt to Kaduna 915 km, Maiduguri 706 km, 105 35 km,” he said.
Kalu lamented that “the Federal Executive Council is yet to give approval for the commencement which leaves not just the government as losers but all host communities to the rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.”
He also expressed concerns that the non-existence of an airport or inland port in the whole of Abia State, with its high volume of commercial activities, poses a serious hindrance to the export and import of goods.
Reacting to Senator Kalu’s concerns, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance by the Federal Government and report back in three weeks for further legislative action.