FG Commissions Itakpe-Warri 33 Years After.

President Muhammad Buhari  has commissioned for commercial use the 326km Itakpe-Warri railway as well as the ancillary factory, 33 years after it was conceived. 
The President who virtually perfomed the Official Commissioning Ceremony today at the Goodluck Jonathan, Railway Complex in Owa –Oyibu, Delta State commended the patience of the host communities for waiting so long for the actualization of the project which suffered several setbacks and false starts.
Similarly, he lauded the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, for his perseverance  in actualizing the project.
The President acknowledging the vital role of railway transportation, approved the construction of viable new routes as well as reconstruction and rehabilitation of old ones “to achieve efficient and effective train services supporting the country’s trade and commerce.” 
He further directed the Ministry of Transportation to link the seaports to the rail lines as well as link Itakpe-Warri to Abuja, thereby creating a veritable link between the northern and southern parts of the country.
Also, the President assured Nigerians of “government’s desire to work within the limit of the nation’s resources to judiciously connect our commercial and industrial hubs to boost trade, generate wealth and create employment.”
The Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in his address  enjoined the Federal Government to extend the rail line southwards to Warri Port and northwards to Abuja, while promising to collaborate with Federal Government in securing the stations and other facilities on the tail corridor.
The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, in his goodwill message appealed to the FG to extend the rail line to the industrial park  under construction in Benin City to enable them haul what they produce to the north. 
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that project was directly funded by the budget without loans from any source.
In reply to those who claim that the Federal Government is only concentrating rail lines in the South, the Minister pointed out that 8 out of 10 train stations were in the South-South region.
According to the Minister, the project which was started 33 years ago, was resuscitated in line with the present administration’s passion to realize for Nigeria an effective and efficient transportation especially the railways.
The project which was re-awarded to Julius Berger, China Civil Engineering Construction Company and ZTE in 2017 was originally conceived as a cargo rail line but was redesigned to provide passenger services.  
The dignitaries at the event included: Minister of Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Commission, Fidet Okhiria, members of the governing board of NRC led by the board chairman, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, the Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, National Assembly members, traditional rulers and others.
Eric Ojiekwe
29th September, 2020