A non-governmental and advocacy organization – Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative CQTI has expressed joy and commendation over the Eastern Railway, Bonny Seaport and Railway Industrial Park flag off construction in Port Harcourt, Rivers State by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group in a statement titled “The Eastern Railway, Bonny Seaport and Railway Industrial Park: President Buhari Flags off Construction in Port Harcourt” said, “Leadership has to be visionary for people to feel the impact. The development trajectory of the President Buhari’s administration is intended at raising the bar and stimulating the economy. By the way, the administration took off at a time when most of the infrastructures were at their lowest ebb.President Buhari is a leader with a compelling vision and needed people who could understand his vision for Nigeria. He knew that improving the transportation sector has attendant effects on the economy, hence his decision to place Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi there to radically produce immeasurable results. He has not disappointed. Till date, it has been work, work and work, and it has yielded results.”
Continuing, CQTI explained that the President of Nigeria flagged off the ground-breaking breaking ceremony for the Eastern narrow gauge railway project and construction of Bonny Seaport as well as the Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, add that as it is “our tradition, Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative was on ground to witness this great feat.”
Speaking with the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Cooperation (NRC), Fidet Edentalen Okhiria, he confirmed that the connection of the new railway tracks to a new Bonny seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipments of cargo and freight, across West African sub-region in the continental free trade.
Explaining the movement of the train and what narrow gauge means, Mr Fidet said that the route will cut across Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, a branch in Owerri, Anambra and Abakaliki. With this, massive employment will be generated. However, in order to have an easy movement, it is recommended that the projects start from the Bonny seaport so as to move the necessary materials to the construction locations.
He further explained that removing the old tracks and introducing new ones means doing away with what is called “traps”. This will enable the trains to move at a high speed with 60-80 kilometres per hour and 80-100 kilometres per hour for freight and passengers respectively.
Speaking further, Mr Fidet stated that the Bonny deep seaport has a container terminal of 500,000 TEU (20 feet equivalent unit per annum capacity and 100,000 DWT Deadweight tonnage) Berth.
“The Port Harcourt Railway Industrial Park, will serve as a station where train parts and repairs will be concentrated and it will be supported by necessary infrastructure including power, water, waste, disposal, ICT and gas distribution as well as transportation, logistics centres and ancillaries” he said.
In his address, the Minister of Transportation. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said that the Ministry is working with the government policies and the President’s directives to implement the railway modernization project, as well as expanding the railway network and it is being developed through a direct investment by a conglomerate led by Messers CCECC Nigeria Limited with a total investment of US$700million.
The Transportation Minister also said that this project will serve as a supply chain network for domestic needs and also support imports into the hinterlands of the county through the new deep seaport in Bonny Island.