OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a motion asking the federal government to extend the rail line from Itakpe to Abuja and beyond to ensure easy transportation of passengers and goods.
The House also urged the government to follow up with its promises to construct the 2163 km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri single track standard gauge line and the coastal railway project.
The House resolutions were sequel to a motion moved by Mr. Francis Ejiroghene Waive (Delta, APC) and Mr. Ahmed-Tijani Damisa (PDP, Kogi) on the expansion of the Warri-Itakpe rail project and overhaul of the rail infrastructure in the country for economic development.
Leading the debate on the motion, Mr. Waive said the various efforts by governments in the past to construct and develop rail transportation in the country since 1898 when the first railroad was constructed and the enactment of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act in 1955 has not yielded any positive result.
He also lamented the infrastructural deficit in the country noting that the existing railway tracks were done years back, regretting that the development and rise in trade engineered by the construction of the railway lines were however cut short by war, corruption, lack of funds, policy inconsistency, management inefficiency and none continuity of projects by successive governments such that in spite of the huge sums of money plunged into the sector, thereafter, passenger traffic and patronage started to decline from 11,288,000 passengers in 1964 to 4,342,000 ten years later.
The motion was adopted when the presiding officer put the question and referred to the committee on Land Transport (when constituted) to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Nigeria Railway Corporation to ensure compliance.