Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says the freight services on Warri-Itakpe Standards Guage Railway Line would create more jobs and promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Amaechi made this known during the inauguration of the Freight Service of Standard Guage Railway Line at Ujevwu Community, near Warri.
He said that the development and modernisation of the railway system had been a major focus of the Federal Government.
“We are here today to flag-off commercial freight services on the standard guage route that was abandoned for over 30 years but rehabilitated by this administration and put into operation.
“It has been one of the strategic aims of the present administration to ensure all critical infrastructure abandoned by the previous administration, particularly those that would benefit the citizenry, are completed and commissioned.
“It is universally acknowledged that a developing country with a large population such as Nigeria must develop a robust transport system such as modern and functional rail system.
“Which is undeniably instrumental to creating much needed socio-economic transformation and industrial development.
“The freight service will enhance more efficient, land-based and affordable mode for mass transit and freight services.
“We also promised to embark on wealth creation projects through various interventions and projects execution that will provide direct and indirect employment opportunities to our citizens.
“Only recently, precisely September 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari virtually commissioned the Warri-Itapke Standard Gauge passenger train service.
“Reports available suggests that patronage on this route has increased by over 200 per cent in the last few months and its becoming a preferred means of transportation for communities along this route in Delta, Edo and Kogi States,” Amaechi said.
The minister urged the people in Warri and neighbouring communities to cooperate and support federal government and the oil companies to enable the freight service project flourish.
Amaechi said that the gesture would attract more federal government development to the area, noting that 90 per cent of the employees were from Delta.
In his address of welcome, the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, said that the rail construction started in 1987.
He said it was designed for the transportation of Iron Ore from Itakpe to Ajaokuta and Aladja Steel Rolling Mills in Delta.
In his goodwill message, the Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, said the project would have ripple effect of massive job creation across the nation as well as domestic gas supply for power generation.
Kyari was represented by the Managing Director, Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), Mr Seyi Omojowo
“By this laudable achievement of resuming freight service via railway, NNPC’s global goal on health Safety and Environment nicknamed Goal Zero incident and accident will be achieved, ” Kyari said.
Also, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, represented by his Commissioner for Transportation, Ovie Oghoore, assured that the state government would protect the equipment.