POLITICS

Link all ports to rail lines-Buhari directs Amaechi_Ada Nkong

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports to rail network in order to improve transportation and economic capacities.

After more than three decades of neglect, President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday inaugurated the 326 KM Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation as well as the ancillary facilities yard, at the recently named Goodluck Jonathan Railway Complex in Agbor (Owa-Oyibu), Delta State

He said that his administration recognised the importance of the railway mode of transportation as a vital backbone to support industrialization and economic development.

”Accordingly, I have approved the prioritization of viable railway routes for either new rail lines or the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some, to achieve effective and efficient train services supporting the country’s trade and commerce.

At the virtual opening of the rail line linking Itakpe to Warri, President Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports of origin and destination – Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, Calabar Ports- to the rail network in order to significantly improve overall transportation and economic capacities

Speaking, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, appreciated the President for his unrelenting and concerted attention given to the project.

“Historically, this project conceived 33 years ago, started with the linkage of Itakpe Iron Ore Mines with Ajaokuta jail it a Steel Mill and extended 0 Aladja, Ward in the South-South zone of the Country by the contract warded in 1991 for the extension.

“The project Suffered a lot of setbacks  even as Government was giving out the railway as collateral element in the iron ore mining and steel plants concession agreement. The project was however transferred from Federal Ministry of Mines and Power in

“June 1996 as a result of Government decision to transform the Itakpe Ajaokuta -Warri Railway to the Nigeria Railway Central line and assigned to it multifunctional role to provide freight movement services to industries in the corridor including agricultural, manufacturing and mining as well as cover passenger services.

“ With the priority attached to the provision of railway infrastructure by Mr. President and in readiness to complete this project, the Federal Government in August, 2017 approved the contract for the reconstruction of the 54 Kilometer of the Itakpe Ajaokuta section of the rail line, construction of 12 ultra modern station buildings as well as intermodal bus terminal in Itakpe Station was awarded to Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited.

“ Also the construction of siding tracks to service the buildings in the Ancillary Yard including locomotive workshop, Rolling stock depot, maintenance workshop, fueling depot, goods platform in this facility yard was awarded to the contractor.

“The Government also approved the completion of other structures including admin block, communication towers, medical bay, quarters for workers.,within this railway ancillary facilities yard to Messrs. Julius Berger Nigeria Plc,” he said.

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