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Port Harcourt-Aba train service kicks off



Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi

THE Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has kicked off Aba-Port Harcourt mass transit train service, saying governance should be separated from politics.

Amaechi explained that the Federal Government was determined and ready to partner with the Abia State government to bring development in the state irrespective of its political party affiliation.

The minister while speaking during the ceremony in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the train, which would run between Port Harcourt and Aba would enhance commercial activities and foster integration among the people of Rivers and Abia states.

He further disclosed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari plans to revive the railway sub-sector and achieve a system that is modern, safe and affordable.

He said the project would serve as a vehicle for sustainable development, social harmony and political stability.

Amaechi added: “I wish to inform you that the Federal Government is opening a space for public-private initiative in the transport sector.

“The government through the public- private partnership initiative will redevelop the major railway stations within the country, under the railway modernisation programme, government will achieve an efficient rail network.”

The minister also stated that the private public initiative was a clear demonstration of President Buhari administration’s change agenda, adding that its positive impact would be felt in the transport sector.

To achieve the target, Amaechi said about four bills would be taken to the National Assembly for passage into laws.

The bills, according to him, include; Nigeria Railway Authority Bill, National Transport Commission Bill, National Inland Ways Authority Bill and Nigeria Ports Authority Bill.

In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Ude Okochukwu, said the state government was willing to work with the Federal Government to bring the dividends of democracy to the people, reiterating that governance should be separated from politics.

Okochukwu said years of neglect led to the abandonment of the rail sector. He expressed regret that the citizens have paid dearly for such neglect through accidents due to a near collapse of Federal Government roads and its multiplier effects.

According to him, the kick off brings a new vista for the people of the state. He thanked the minister for the foresight in approving the service.

Similarly, Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Mrs. Stella Ebere Wigbe, described the project as a welcome development.

Speaking also, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Adeseyi Sijuwade, said the train would run four trips daily from Monday to Saturday. He explained that the train has a 68 seater air-conditioned modern passenger coaches, together with standard class coaches.

Sijuwade said there would be proactive economic growth and virile positive change in the lives of the citizenry with the new train service.

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