Senator representing Lagos East and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport Gbenga Ashafa has hailed the Federal Government for delivering on the Ajaokuta-Itaipe-Warri rail line after its abandonment by successive administrations.
He spoke during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee to the Itakpe-Warri Rail line, which is presently undergoing a test run since Tuesday.
Key stakeholders, who were present at the oversight function included members of the committee – Senators Osinakachukwu Ideozu, Olanrewaju Tejuoso and Yahaya Gamau Lawal.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation was represented by the Government Inspector of Railways, A.B Yusuf, an engineer; Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation was represented by Deputy Director, Rail Mobilisation and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Transportation B. Kehinde; and representatives of Julius Berger Nigeria and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC).
Ashafa said: “I am excited by the fact that after many years of lack of commitment by successive administrations and failure by these administrations to revive this all-important rail route, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has finally been able to do the needful.
”You will recall that from the very beginning of our assignment in 2015, I assured you of the commitment of our committee to ensure that we work collaboratively with the executive to ensure that we deliver to the Nigerian people a functional railway system that cuts across the length and breadth of the country.
“This we have done through the guarantee of appropriation for critical infrastructure as well as effective monitoring of expenditure as at when due. We have disagreed on processes, checked and balanced ourselves as should be, but most importantly our collective resolve to see a Nigeria that works, a railway that functions and an administration that succeeds far outweighed our differences politically and institutionally. This remains our commitment”
He added: “In the past three years of this administration, we have been able to work together (the Executive and this committee), to deliver to Nigerians the Port-Harcourt to Owerri line, the Abuja to Kaduna Standard gauge line, a substantial rehabilitation of the entire narrow gauge rail infrastructure, which now include the Ajaokuta – Itakpe – Warri line. We also have in the works for delivery very soon the Lagos to Ibadan Standard gauge line.”
Ashafa hailed and acknowledged the effort of Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi and all those who played a role in ensuring that the Ajaokuta- Itakpe-Warri rail line becomes operational.