OrderPaperToday – The Senate has called on the federal government to urgently commence the rehabilitation of the eastern rail line.

And to ensure traction on the matter, the senate mandated its Committee on Land Transport to interface with the relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure implementation.

These resolutions were reached during plenary on Tuesday sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia).

Sen. Kalu, in his lead debate, bemoaned the state of infrastructure in the country which has affected the movement of goods and persons to the point of “becoming very cumbersome, if not hazardous.”

He noted that the Federal Government in “2017 entered into an agreement with General Electric, a Boston, United States based company, under the Rehabilitation and Concessioning of Western and Eastern Railway lines to connect Abia, Rivers, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Kaduna, Katsina, Enugu, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Bomo, Yobe and Kano States. And while the Western lines of 1,126 km are from Lagos to Kano and to N guru 230 km, Funtua mom and Kaura Namoda 121 km. The Eastern lines are from Port Harcourt to Kaduna 915 km, Maiduguri 706 km, 105 35 km.”

He called attention to the eastern rail line which commences in Port Harcourt in Rivers State, passing through Abia State, Enugu, Benue, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano to Gombe and terminates in Maiduguri, Bomo State and had been “denied a similar attention given to Lagos Kano (Western) rail line in spite of the fact that investigations revealed that the eastern rail line remains the most lucrative route in Nigeria.”

According to the lawmaker, “in spite of being the most lucrative route in Nigeria and a distance of about 1402 km having passed through Aba in Abia State, the commercial nerve center of the South East is regrettably left in a comatose condition resulting in Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) losing at least N208 million Naira each year since 2014 totaling N1, 248 Billion Naira in the past 6 years.

“This colossal loss of revenue in this corridor and the attendant economic benefits that would be accrued, the commencement of the rehabilitation and concession of the Eastern Rail lines as entered by the Executive has not taken off like that of the Western corridor with 2 to 3 different companies, GE, Transnet and its consortium partners which include Sino Hydro of China and Dutch based APM Terminals for unexplained reasons.”

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