South East seeks collaboration on rescuing Eastern railway lines

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Ebonyi State governor Dave Umahi

GOVERNORS of South East zone have decided to collaborate with the governors of South-South, North Central and North East to dialogue with the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Eastern Corridor of the Railway.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum (SEGF) and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi disclosed this after an enlarged virtual meeting of the Forum with other stakeholders  leaders on Sunday. 

He said: “The Eastern corridor is the railway passing from Port-Harcourt to South-East, North Central and Benue to the North East. 

The meeting noted that if the existing railway infrastructure of the Eastern Corridor were repaired, it would resolve problem of transportation in the regions.

“We discovered that there is no real funding available for this programme and we agreed to collaborate with the governors of South-East, North Central and North East to dialogue with the Federal Government to see that this project is inaugurated. 

“It is an existing railway line and it needs to be repaired with the terminals, and to rebuild some of them that have collapsed. And this is very important to our people. 

“Before now, people used to travel to Port-Harcout, Enugu, Makurdi, and Maiduguri by rail and we want to see that this programme is resuscitated and funding is made available for it,” Umahi said.

The governor also disclosed that they have concluded plans to launch the proposed joint security outfit but will not reveal the name of the outfit.

According to Umahi, the name of the security outfit would be made public at the forum’s next meeting after which the Attorney General of each state of the region would be given the nod to forward the proposal to the state House of Assembly for proper legislative procedure.

He said: “We have gone very far on this. On a common law for a joint security of South-East, the governors agreed that in our next meeting, a name will be given to the joint South-East security and then we will give go ahead to Attorney-Generals of the states to dust the proposal and then send to the House of Assembly for them to deliberate on.“

The governors commended “President Muhammadu Buhari for the speed of work on the second Niger bridge. The project is on course and we are told that by July 2022, they will hand over the project. 

“The bridge is progressing very well, there is also an adjoining 44km of road and the project is funded by the Federal Government. We are very hopeful that this project will be realized under Mr. President.”

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