By Musa Adamu
Senate has urged the Federal Government to prioritize the commencement of the rehabilitation and concession agreement for the Eastern Corridor.
The Senate made this resolution while considering a motion on “urgent need to resuscitate and reactivate the rehabilitation and concession of the Eastern Rail line Project”.
The motion was sponsored by the Chief Whip of the Senate and Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu, and co-sponsored by 102 other senators.
The apex legislative arm also mandated its Committee on Land Transport to interface with the relevant Ministry and agencies of the Executive to facilitate the commencement of the Eastern Corridor.
It further mandated its Committee on Compliance to ensure that the resolutions taken by the lawmakers were complied with by the relevant MDAs, and to forward its report to the Senate in three weeks for further legislative action.
Presenting the motion, Kalu pointed out that it became imperative to propel the Executive to take the action in view of its huge revenue potentials to the national economy and for movement of people to reduce the burden on dilapidated roads within the Eastern axis of the country.
He lamented that the Eastern rail line had been denied similar attention given to Lagos-Kano (Western) rail line in spite of the fact that investigations revealed that the Eastern rail line remained the most lucrative route in Nigeria.
The politician also observed with dismay that 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, the rail project was still left comatose.
Kalu pointed out that this negligence had resulted in Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) losing at least N10.4 billion each year since 2014, totaling N63.2 billion in the past six years.
He said that this neglect was worse on 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, Borno State capital.
Contributing in support of the motion, Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo West), said that Nigerian government should not go about governance in such a way that some sections of the country would be having a sense of being left out or marginalised.
He stated that prioritizing the Easter rail line would give the people from the region a sense of belonging, just as he said that the project, if completed, would help revolutionize the economy to the benefit of all the sections of the country.
Similarly, the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, while supporting the motion, said that constructing the Eastern rail Corridor would make movement of persons, goods and services from the East to other parts of the country and vice versa easier.