26th June, 2012
Nigeria’s Rivers State government on Tuesday expressed its commitment to complete the monorail project in the interest of the people.
Mr George Tolofari, the State Commissioner for Transport, told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the project was still on course.
The monorail project, which began on July 2010 has drawn criticisms from the public, with some critics stating that it was not in tune with the current needs of the state.
Tolofari said that the state government was politically and economically prepared to carry on with the project.
The commissioner did not give reason why work on the project was suspended, but said that every material needed for the first phase had been delivered.
“We have long taken delivery of materials for the completion of the project.
“We have no fear of any kind, the monorail project will be delivered for the use of our people, we will surely prove our critics wrong,’’ he said.
Tolofari urged Rivers’ people to shun unnecessary criticisms of government actions.
He urged them to rather provide useful inputs on how to move the state forward.
The project has triggered some political debate between the Action Congress of Nigeria and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, with the former petitioning the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and tagging the project ‘a white elephant’.
But the PDP in the state said the petition was unnecessary because the project was on course.
Mr Jerry Needam, the Rivers Publicity Secretary of the ACN, said in a statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the monorail project had collapsed.
He said the party had gone ahead to invite the EFCC to investigate what it called “the white elephant project’’, alleging that the partners to the project suddenly withdrew while it was shrouded in secrecy.
“Its regrettable that everything about the monorail project is shrouded in secrecy, ranging from the actual amount of the project, the names of the contract partners, reasons for the withdrawal midway into the agreement.
“The reason for the snail-speed trailing the work, the actual amount paid to property owners whose property were demolished to make way for the project as all these have raised too many unaddressed questions, complaints and even court threats.
“In the light of all this, the EFCC has no excuse, not to embark on this mother of all investigations in the state,’’ he said.
Mr George Ukwuoma-Nwogba, the state’s Publicity Secretary of the PDP, however, said the ACN was crying wolf and could not justify its claims.
“ The monorail project is a technical one and is on course,’’ he said.
He said that Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration was determined to complete it, saying that majority of the materials needed to complete it had arrived in the state.
“ The PDP is solidly behind Governor Amaechi and we are not afraid of the EFCC coming to investigate the project because in the long run, the Governor will be vindicated,’’ he said.
Ukwuoma-Nwogba said that on completion, the monorail project would be the first of its kind in the country and would alleviate the transportation problems in the state.