Nigeria: Port Harcourt-Makurdi Passenger Train in Four years Limbo

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) is losing huge revenue in passenger and freight train services from Port Harcourt to Makurdi and its environs in the past four years because of bad rail infrastructure along the Eastern rail district with headquarters in Enugu.

BusinessDay investigation reveals that many parts of rail lines have gone bad and some bridges along the railway line are also weak that train cannot pass through them comfortably,

The contract to rehabilitate the Railway line from Port Harcourt to Makurdi was during the last administration awarded to Eser West African by the administration of former President GoodLuck Johnathan.

This company was said to have completed the contract in 2014 and train operations began from Port Harcourt passing Enugu to Makurdi. The train stopped operations along the axis after the former Goodluck Jonathan administration left office and since then, no single train has ever passed through Enugu to Makurdi, or even Enugu to Ehamufu as it used to.

When BusinessDay visited the NRC district office in Enugu,Olusoji Osidipe , the Eastern district manager said that suspension of operations in the past four years was due to the vandalization of the rail lines by the villagers. He regretted that, the people do not appreciate how important the railway infrastructure is to them and called on the villagers to stop the vandalization,

The district manager also appealed to the federal government to make laws that would prohibit against buying and sailing of rail materials from iron smelting companies without clearing from Nigeria Railway as a measure to stopping vandalization.

The NRC official also lamented the negative impact of erosion and landslide which he said affected many areas of the rail in the Eastern district and the weakness of some bridges because of many years of its construction like the Emene Bridge.

He however expressed satisfaction that, the Aba- Port Harcourt passenger train service is working because the rail tracks are still in better condition, though not perfect . “There are many places that requires attention on the track and to get them cleared, we need headquarters assistance”. he said.

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