16th December, 2015
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Chuibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport and former former governor of Rivers state has flagged off Aba-Port Harcourt railway transport, noting that, in infrastructural development there is no political affiliation.
Amaechi made the declaration Wednesday at the Port Harcourt Railway Station while flagging-off Aba-Port Harcourt railway transport.
In an address during the event, Amaechi said rail mass transit will enhance the durability of Nigerian roads under pressure due to excess vehicular movement.
The Minister said that the event was part of the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts and commitments to provide safe and affordable means of mass transportation in Nigeria.
According to him, “the Nigerian Railway Corporation has completed the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt–Aba rail line B segment of the narrow gauge Eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and the line is ready for commissioning and commencement of operations.”
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, commended the Federal Government for continuing with the revival of the railway transport system started by the previous administration.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary Rivers State Ministry of Transport, Mrs. Stella Ebere Wigwe, Governor Wike assured that he will always support the Federal Government in the execution of development projects.
He urged the Federal Government to complete and commission the rehabilitation of the remaining segments around the country, adding that rail transport is a viable system of transportation to invest in.
Wike, who remarked that rail transportation is an affordable, safe, and fast means of moving bulky goods will also provide jobs for the teeming population of unemployed Nigerians and help reduce pressure on roads.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, said that the Aba – Port Harcourt Mass Transit Service was set up to facilitate business transactions between the Araria International Market in Aba and the Oil Mills, Mile 1 and Diobu markets in Port Harcourt.
He also said that the Mass Transit Train Service will reduce congestion on the Aba- Port Harcourt Express road.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, described the service as a signpost of seriousness of the Federal government to reinvigorate the railway systems in the country.