THe Federal Government has flagged-off Port Hacourt-Enugu inter – city passenger train and freight service at Port Hacourt.
Speaking Tuesday, December 23, at the occasion, President Goodluck Jonathan represented by the Vice President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo said, as Nigerians with vision and zeal to transform the country to enviable heights, the administration has kept faith with Nigerians by fulfilling all the electoral promises.
He noted that the “administration accords top priority to the development of infrastructure one of which is the rail sector as component of the transformation as well as Vision 20:2020.”
In keeping with the transformation project, the president said “Government initiated and articulated a 25-year strategic plan for rail development in Nigeria in order to resuscitate and revitalize the railway which has suffered neglect for the past 30 years”, stressing that the vision is to be implemented in three phases involving system transition, system modernization and system stabilization.
As a synonym for change, Jonathan said, the transformation agenda has been providing qualitative change as the administration has engaged in gradual and steady commissioning of landmark projects that will touch the lives of the people positively.
He highlighted that The Administration has unbundled and privatized the power sector, changed the course of agriculture from a programme to a business, manage the economy such that it has risen to be the greatest in Africa and one of the largest in the world
He also noted that in addition to rehabilitation of the rail net-work on both the Western and Eastern rail lines, the Federal government has procured a number of rolling stock as well as refurbish a significant number of coaches and wagons. He said the exercise is a continuous one, noting that in May this year, he has commissioned some diesel multiple units, 66-seater air conditioned coaches in Lagos.
He assured that by January next year the Enugu-Gombe rail line would be completed as the construction of Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge is at 90 percent completion while Itakpe-Ajeokuta-Warri standard gauge is at advanced staged. He reiterated that the Federal Government’s determination to construct the coastal railway line is to connect the commercial city of Lagos with the oil producing states of Niger Delta and the Eastern parts of the country.
Earlier, the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodor Orji, expressed happiness of all the eastern people and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for putting the railway back to live, saying it was historic as the railway has come back to live and will affect the people positively. He said it will make transportation cheap for all categories of Nigerians. He also said people have been asking question about SURE-P money, this is the result of SURE-P money.
Others who spoke at the occasion were the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, Chairman, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the Chairman of SURE-P, General Martin Luther Agwai, representative of the South-South-South-East board members of NRC, Hon Austin Nwachukwu and the President of ESER West Africa Ltd., a leading Turkish company handling the rehabilitation work in the Niger Delta area, who said the company has passed very difficult challenges in the course of the work but it was not deterred and had been the first contractor to complete its work.
For: SSA (Media and Publicity) to the Vice President.