FG acts on Kalu’s Eastern Rail motion,sets flag off date
Sequel to a motion sponsored by the Chief Whip of the Senate and Abia-North Senator, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that it will execute the groundbreaking ceremony for the Eastern rail corridor on 9th March, 2021.
According to the Federal Government, the project which was recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated by the President himself on the aforementioned date. The project will involve the redirecting of the Eastern line to two new spurs namely: Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, and Awka, Anambra State.
The Federal Government via it’s Minister of Transportation, ChibuikeAmaechi disclosed this during an inspection tour to all the stations from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Ebute Metta to Ibadan station over the weekend.
This development is sequel to a motion sponsored by the Chief Whip of the Senate and Abia-North Senator; Senator Orji Uzor Kalu in July last year. The motion titled “urgent need to resuscitate and reactivate the rehabilitation and concession of the Eastern Rail line Project” received a unanimous resolution by the Senate.
As part of its resolution the Senate tasked the federal government to quickly rehabilitate the Eastern rail line to ease the nation’s transportation challenges.
To ensure the task is not neglected, the Senate also mandated its Committee on Land Transport to relate with the relevant Ministries and agencies and ensure the Executive facilitated the execution of the Eastern corridor immediately.
Kalu in his lead debate rued one of the greatest challenges facing the nation as an emerging economy is poor infrastructural development. He stated that, “the movement of goods and persons from one point to another is becoming very cumbersome, if not hazardous.” The lawmaker recalled that it was in recognition of the fact that there is dire need for transformation of the Nigerian Railway system into a more dynamic and functional one, that the federal government had encouraged the use of rail to reduce road traffic congestion problems and open up the sector to private sector investment.
Similarly, the Minister mentioned that the FG has approved the commencement of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project & is also negotiating loans for Lagos-Calabar rail project.
On the take-off of the Ibadan-Kano rail project, Amaechi informed that the government is still seeking approval for a loan to enable it take off. Speaking on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Amaechi noted that he has challenged Messrs. China Civil Engineering and Construction Company to deploy global acceptable safety and security standards for the project. He directed that a central cooling system be installed in all the major train stations along that route.
In a related development President Buhari in February this year also approved the immediate completion of Mbalano Power Substation in Mbalano Isuikwuato, Abia state. The President gave directives to the minister of power to expedite the completion work in the Transmission Substation in the next few months. It can be recalled that the Chief Whip of the Senate Senator Orji Kalu in December last year (2020) led a high-powered delegation from the Federal Government to inspect abandoned power transmission projects in Abia-North Senatorial zone.
The Federal Government’s team was led by the Honourable minister of Power Engr. Mamman Kwagyang Saleh followed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Power; Chinyeaka Christian Ohaa, Managing Director Transmission Company of Nigeria; Engr Sule Ahmed and the Director of Transmission; Nosike Emmanuel as well as several other Directors and Engineers from the Ministry of power embarked on an inspection tour of the power transmission sites.
In a bid to revitalise the projects abandoned for almost 20 years, Senator Kalu had earlier written to the Ministry of Power calling the attention of the Honourable Minister for Power, Engr. Mamman Saleh to the abandoned power transmission projects.
The Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman, has assured that the three major power projects located in Abia North Senatorial District, Abia State, which have been abandoned for years, would be reactivated and completed in the first quarter of 2021.