The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday urged the executive arm of government to prioritise the commencement of the rehabilitation and concessioning agreement for the Eastern corridor of railway line.
The Senate made this resolution while considering a motion on “urgent need to resuscitate and reactivate the rehabilitation and concession of the Eastern Rail line Project”, sponsored by Orji Uzor Kalu, and co-sponsored by 102 other senators.
Presenting the motion, Kalu pointed out that it became imperative to propel the executive to take the action in view of its huge revenue potentials to the national economy and for movement of people to reduce the burden on dilapidated roads within the Eastern axis of the country.
He lamented that the Eastern rail line had been denied similar attention given to Lagos-Kano (Western) rail line in spite of the fact that investigations revealed that the Eastern rail line remained the most lucrative route in Nigeria.
The lawmaker in his presentation noted that one of the greatest challenges facing the nation as an emerging economy was poor infrastructural development,
He said, “The movement of goods and persons from one point to another is becoming very cumbersome, if not hazardous.
“The Federal Government in 2017 entered into an agreement with General Electric, a Boston, United States based company, under the Rehabilitation and 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 N guru 230 km, Funtua mom and Kaura Namoda 121 km. The Eastern lines are from Port Harcourt to Kaduna 915 km, Maiduguri 706 km, 105 35 km.
“In spite of the fact that the railways are more efficient in haulage of bulk loads over long distances in environmental and economic ease including cargoes and petroleum products, the sector suffers neglect especially the Eastern rail line which commences in Port Harcourt in Rivers State, passing through Abia State, Enugu, Benue, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano to Gombe and terminates in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“The Eastern rail line had been denied a similar attention given to Lagos Kano (Western) rail line in spite of the fact that investigations revealed that the Eastern rail line remains the most lucrative route in Nigeria.
“In spite of being the most lucrative route in Nigeria and a distance of about 1402 km having passed through Aba in Abia State, the commercial nerve centre of the South East is regrettably left in a comatose condition resulting in Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) losing at least N208 million each year since 2014.”
The Senate in its resolutions, mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance by the executive arm of government and report back to the Senate in three weeks for further legislative action.