*Inaugurates Enugu-Port Harcourt-Enugu Intercity Train Service
President Goodluck Jonathan said, Tuesday, that his administration had managed the country’s economy to become the greatest in Africa and one of the largest in the world.
He said this in Port Harcourt at the inauguration of Enugu-Port Harcourt-Enugu intercity train service.
He said: “We have managed the economy such that it has risen to be the greatest economy in Africa and one of the largest in the world.”
Represented by his Vice President Namadi Sambo, the president said his government had changed the course of history in the country.
“We have changed the course of history with the railway system in the last 30 years from the neglected sector to a rehabilitated and revitalised one by rehabilitating the existing narrow gauge railway lines, their operations and maintenance,” Jonathan said.
He said the administration would construct coastal railway line from Lagos to oil producing states of the Niger Delta and link up commercial cities in the South-East.
According to him, the Abuja-Kaduna rail project was at 90 per cent completion stage while the Warri-Itakpe project was at an advanced stage.
“We have introduced programmes that have impacted positively on the lives of the people and addressed key issues in our national agenda,” he said.
According to the president, he had fulfilled all his electioneering campaign promises he made to Nigerians during the 2011 presidential election.
In his contribution, Sen. Idris Umar, Minister of Transport, said the construction of Lagos-Ibadan railway line would commerce soon, adding that the Warri-Itakpe rail project was progressing steadily.
He said more than 90 per cent of the existing narrow gauge rail lines in the country was being rehabilitated and noted that the railways were very significant to the country’s economy.
Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, noted that the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt railway had many challenges.
He said 30 metres of the rail line was washed out by Aba gully erosion and explained that five metres wide reinforced concrete culvert of more than 366 metres long resolved the problem.
According to him, “the Aba mountain of refuse” of about five metres high was part of the challenges while a section of the track was buried, explaining that the challenges had made train services impossible in the South-East since 2009.