The Federal Government has said that the contractor handling the construction of the Port Harcourt-Maidugiri Eastern rail line put the project on hold due to insecurity and vandalism of railway infrastructure on the corridor.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo, during the inspection of the project, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The Minister said China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCEC), the contractor handling the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the project, had complained of attacks on its workers along the Abia State axis.
Sambo, who was obviously very displeased by the acts, condemned them in strong terms, pointing out that in the history of Nigeria, no administration has invested more in rail infrastructure like the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He used the opportunity to call on the media and the judiciary to collaborate with the Ministry to ensure that economic saboteurs are not only exposed but prosecuted and sentenced speedily to serve as deterrence to others.
On the report that the funds meant for the Eastern rail line is diverted to other projects, the Minister said it was fake news as the progress made so far is from the 15 per cent of the counterpart funding by Nigeria while the 85 per cent to be provided by foreign parterners was still being negotiated.
Meanwhile, the Minister on his visit to the National Inland Waterways Authority’s Area Office in Port Harcourt, he commissioned three patrol boats and 32- seater ferry boat to enhance operational efficiency as well as encourage water transportation.
The Minister disclosed that while he was at the helm of affairs there, he did not only maintain the amount of revenue set by his predecessors, but surpassed it.
“When I came here, a lot of people were wondering if we are going to succeed. But I did not only sustain the level of revenue that was sustained by my predecessors, but I even surpassed them,” he said.
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