Not less than N3.5 billion has been used by the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Zaria-Funtua-Kaura Namoda rail lines, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Sahabi Ya’u has said.
The legislator told newsmen in Kaura Namoda, Zamfara, that government was doing its best to make transportation easier for the people in spite of the costly nature of constructing rail lines.
He said the federal government decided to embark on the rehabilitation of existing rail lines to facilitate movement of goods and people, until when it would provide modern rail lines.
The senator revealed that the construction of a modern rail line linking Kaduna and Abuja had reached 80 percent completion, while a contract had been awarded for that of Lagos to Ibadan.
Giving an insight into the benefits that will accrue from the successful completion of the project, Ya’u said: “Businessmen and civil servants who choose to live in Kaduna while working in Abuja can conveniently travel to Abuja, finish their businesses at the close of work and return to their families.
“These trains run at a speed of about 200 kilometres per hour. So, within an hour, a traveller between Kaduna and Abuja can reach his destination at high comfort and at very little cost”.
Ya’u who represents the Zamfara North Senatorial District enjoined the people of the area to give the government, especially the contractors handling the project the desired support and cooperation needed for the rail lines to be completed as scheduled.
Meanwhile, the former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Nebolisa Emodi, highlighted the ministry’s milestone achievements in actualizing the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.
These include resuscitation and revitalization of the Nigerian railway system for the haulage of goods and carriage of passengers, completion of feasibility studies on rail system, increased use of inland waterways to stimulate economic activities, enhancement of maritime safety and security and good welfare system for the staff.
Emordi stated this in Abuja when the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSOF) Alh,Bukar Goni Aji led the peer review team to the ministry as part of reform agenda initiated by the federal government to move the civil service forward.
He stated that the rehabilitation of western line, Lagos- Kano 1,124 kilometres is completed and functional, while work on the Eastern line, Port Harcourt– Maiduguri 1,657 kilometres is progressing steadily with the Port Harcourt – Jos station, including the branch line from Kafanchan to Kaduna to be completed by the end of this month.
He revealed that the construction of Abuja (Idu) – Kaduna Standard Gauge rail is 85 percent completed, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, noting that the construction of Lagos – lbadan standard gauge (double track ) 2 x180 kilometres has been awarded.
In the area of safety and security arrangement initiated by the ministry, he said that there was a provision of automated access control system which prevents intruders to have access to the premises adding that vehicle underground scanners were installed at the entrance gate to check all incoming vehicles among others.
Emordi who expressed his delight for the visiting team admitted that there was a strong cordial relationship and understanding between the management and the joint unions saying that issues are resolved through dialogue.—International Trade Monitor