File photo of the President

President Muhammadu Buhari says rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri railway will reactivate economic activities in the Eastern part of the country, which has been greatly affected by insecurity.

The President stated this yesterday at the virtual ground-breaking ceremony of three projects which are rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt–Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway project, Bonny Deep Sea Port on Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt.

According to the President, the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by the three projects.

“The connection of the railway to a new seaport on Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the Continental Free Trade Area. The sum of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of these projects includes creation of massive employment, locally” the President explained.

President Muhammadu Buhari said there will be further utilisation of local contents and technology transfer, increase in internally generated revenue (IGR) and would serve as a fulcrum for the achievement of Federal Government’s planned Integrated Development Masterplan.

He urged all Nigerians, especially industrialists, manufacturers and businesses within the zones to maximize the use of the infrastructure in planning for expansion and building new factories, as when the Projects are completed, it will raise Nigeria’s economy to the global stage and reaffirm the nation’s leading role in Africa.

President Buhari explained that the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway project with new branch lines to Owerri and Damaturu would resuscitate once the vibrant railway transportation in the Eastern corridor of the country.

He explained that the funding of the railway is through a loan to fund 85 per cent project cost and the Federal Government contribution of 15 per cent as counterpart funding.

The President however assured the nation of prudent use of resources in executing the projects.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi who cut the tape at the main venue on the permission of the President said upon completion, the trains on the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge will run at 60–80 kilometres per hour and 80–100 kilometres per hour for freight and passengers.