• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Port Harcourt-Aba narrow gauge rail to be commissioned this April – Alkali

Port Harcourt-Aba narrow gauge rail to be commissioned this April – Alkali

The Federal Government has set April 2024 as the new date for the commissioning of the Port Harcourt-Aba narrow gauge rail following the inability of the contractor to meet the March completion date.

Said Alkali, minister of transportation, disclosed this when he visited the Eastern District Terminus in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to inspect the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Aba narrow gauge recently.

The minister expressed disappointment because the rehabilitation work has not met the desired scheduled pace.

According to him, the project is funded with 13 percent counterpart funding from the Federal Government as a sign of commitment to persuade the Contractor to expedite actions in sourcing more funding to complete the project for commissioning.

He said the expectation that the rehabilitation work was nearing completion to link the Port Harcourt and Onne Ports and make cargo movements from the ports to Aba possible.

Alkali said the visit was his second to the project site but that he was not impressed that the rehabilitation has failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians who would have been using the railway to move cargo from Port Harcourt and Onne Ports.

The minister faulted the contractor handling the project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CECC) for the lapses and called for expedited action to complete the project on time for commissioning and use.

Alkali proceeded to Obingbo, a boundary between Rivers and Abia States where he alongside his team observed the movement of a Nigerian Railway Corporation locomotive on the rehabilitated section of the rail line, obviously heading towards Aba.

The minister observed that there wasn’t enough security put in place to prevent possible vandalisation of the rehabilitated tracks and rail slippers.

Alkali, however, tasked his team and the CECC team to come up with measures to put in place to forestall vandalism of the rail infrastructure as the government could not be increasing rail infrastructure for vandals to be stealing them.

The minister went in the company of Olufemi Oloruntola, permanent secretary; Zirra Finbar, director of Railway Transport Services; Pius Oteh, director of Legal Services, and Fidet Okhiria, managing director of Nigeria Railway Corporation.