Nigeria Senate on Wednesday requested the presence of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to explain the circumstances that led to collapse railway work in the eastern axis of the country.
Moving the motion through Order 42 and 52 of Senate rules, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu recalled how he urged the Federal government to locate railway development in the eastern axis of the country.
He explained that the federal government’s arrangements with the General Electric (GE) to develop the railway line from Port-Harcourt to Maidiguri has failed.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise through Order Order 42 and 52 to state to recall that some months back, I said the development of railway line in the eastern axis of Nigeria be given attention.”
“I did say on the floor here that the railway from the North East to South East be constructed. ”
“The Federal government has gone into arrangements with General Electric to establish railway line for haulage purposes, and tragically that arrangement has collapsed.”
“That the Minister for Transport should appear before us to clarify on issues bordering eastern axis of Nigeria.”
Reacting, Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district seconded, said that the Minister should be invited to face the Senate.
“The motion raised by DSP was right because the Transportation Minister was invited the other time and he assured us of Port-Harcourt – Maiduguri, but nothing was done.”
“There is no firm arrangement by the Federal Government since then. If he comes, we will find out reasons there is no firm attention despite its economic and social value to the people in that zone and the Federal government.”
Sani said, his Committee on Domestic and Foreign Loans appended their signature on the external borrowing for the Lagos – Ibadan railway with expectations that, it would be the turn of Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri rail lines.
James Manager representing Delta Central Senatorial district emphasized on the economic benefits of railway transportation. He said the Federal government was doing well in terms of railway.
He called on the Minister to act fast, saying that Rotimi Amaechi is a Port-Harcourt man who will go home after his service.
Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan explained that the railway arrangement of the Federal government with the General Electric (GE) was not abandoned.
He expressed concern that the arrangement with GE was only on rehabilitation.
“My concern and of course, those from the eastern axis is that the General Electric through its subsidiary was asked to rehabilitate and not modernise”.
“All states of the federation must be linked with the rail lines. Without sounding partisan, I urge all of us here to work with the government to achieve this.”
Adopting the motion, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki upheld that the Committee on transportation should invite the Minister.