By Naomi SharangThe Senate has urged the Federal Government to upgrade the Eastern Rail Line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, from narrow to standard gauge.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen.
Victor Umeh( APGA-Anambra) and co-sponsored by 31 other senators at plenary.
Moving the motion, Umeh said that the eastern rail line passed through four zones of South-South, South-East, North-Central and North- East of the country.
“This runs from Port Harcourt through Enugu, Markurdi, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri, which is the longest and one of the oldest rail lines in Nigeria.
He said that a functional railway system in the country would help to reduce vehicular traffic on the roads and save them from constant dilapidation.
The lawmaker said that rehabilitation and reconstruction of a narrow gauge rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri had been vandalised, abandoned and overgrown with weeds and trees.
“Not only that the project failed, but the Chinese contractors partnering with the Federal Government on the project who were expected to provide 85 per cent of the expected funding programme, abandoned the project without injecting any funds.
He urged the federal government to take immediate steps to build standard gauge rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
Eyinnaya Abaribe (APGA-Abia) said that the issue was not new.
“This has been here since the 8th Senate.
“One of the biggest problems that we had was that no transport minister has been able to give a reason why in the modernisation of rail lines built by the colonial masters in Nigeria, only the eastern rail line has been ignored.
He said that with the coming administration of President Bola Tinubu, the eastern rail line would be upgraded.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said that the motion was a patriotic one that the federal government should take seriously.