The Federal Government have flaged off commercial freight services on the Warri-Itakpe railway line as a way of boosting the country’s economy and ease of doing business.
The Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi while performing the Flag-off ceremony of the freight services at Ujevwu Railway Station in Warri, Delta State, said the the railway line which is a socio-economic infrastructure will boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and enhance the socio-economic development of the communities and Nigerians generally, irrespective of political affiliation.
According to the Minister,” The Freight Services is a partnership between Nigerian Railway Cooperation (NRC) and NNPC to move materials for the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas Pipe Line project.It will hasten the completion of this project and improve electricity supply for domestic and industrial usage and to also accelerate the movement towards industrialization.”
Amaechi recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had virtually commissioned the Warri-Itapke standard gauge passenger train service in September 2020, and reports available suggests that patronage on the route has increased by over 200% in the last few months as it is fast becoming a preferred means of transportation for communities along this route in Delta, Edo and Kogi States.
The Minister, used the occasion to call on host communities to take advantage of the opportunities created by the project and protect it from vandals.
“May I use this opportunity to call on the communities where these facilities are sited to make the best use of them by protecting this crucial Federal Government Infrastructure from vandalisation.”
In a similar vain, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Buhari Abdulfatai, who was represented by Senator Istifanus Gyang representing Plateau North Senatorial District, said the commencement of freight services on the Warri-Itakpe standard rail line is a major step in Nigeria’s quest towards a functional rail transportation, adding that it addresses the huge infrastructure deficit in the transportation sector and the nation as whole.
He pledged the support of the Senate in the area of adequate approriation and effective oversight function.
The Delta State Governor, represented by the Commissioner of Transportation, Mr Ovie Oghoore, commended the Minister and his team for the return of railway infrastructure to the region. He expressed delight over the completion of the project and pledged the cooperation of the state Government.
The Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corperation Governing Board, Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, on his part noted that the resumption of freight services by train will reduce the risk and hazards occasioned by road transportation.
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