Hope On Port-Harcourt – Maiduguri Train Service Rises
…Service To Commence November
BEVERLY HILLS, September 29, (THEWILL) - The hope of a seamless train service along the Port Harcourt - Maiduguri rail line has risen as the Transport Minister, Idris Umar, Monday, said passengers would now be able to travel along the route by November.
Speaking with journalists in Gombe, the Gombe State capital, after inspecting the Bauchi-Gombe-Maiduguri rail line under construction, the minister disclosed that work on the Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line was nearing completion.
Maintaining that the Federal Government was determined to deliver more dividends of democracy to Nigerians through its Transformation Agenda, the minister said the step taken by government would alleviate the cost of travelling by road and its attendant risks.
The minister explained that 'At the moment , we are concentrating on bringing back to life the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line, which spans Port Harcourt, Enugu, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe and up to Maiduguri,' adding ' We hope that by November this year, the trains will be back on track.'
He also disclosed that work on the tracks was going on simultaneously with the standard gauge line, to meet up with modern trends in the rail transportation system.
According to Umar, 'While that is going on, we are assiduously constructing the standard gauge line, with a view to bringing the modernization in the railway system to Nigeria, and contract for the Lagos-Ibadan double track has been signed, we do hope that before the end of the year, contractors will mobilise to site.'
Explaining the involvement of the private sector in the revival of the railway, the minister maintained that : 'Nigeria cannot be an island, the country has to be in tune with other countries of the world that have allowed the private sector to play a key role, with the country providing the enabling environment. That is what is been done now.'
He disclosed that the focal point of the Goodluck Jonathan administration is the total transformation of all the sectors, explaining that the Gombe axis was facing greater challenges with the collapse of the Bomala Bridge in Akko Local Government Area of the state as well as Jerkwami and Garin Wandara bridges in Funakaye Local Government Area which also requires serious attention.
'Government acknowledges some of the challenges especially along Maiduguri axis, because of the security issues, the Nigerian government, no doubt is on top of the security challenge very soon, this should be over and we shall have the trains running from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.,' Umar however assured.