The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line and other railway projects of the Buhari administration will help quicken the pace of urbanisation and economic development of some of the country’s rural areas, according to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO)
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said this is as a result of thousands of direct and indirect jobs that the projects will attract in towns and villages along the rail routes.
“The 2044-kilometre Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail line is one example of a project that will inject vibrancy into local economies across several regions of the country, from the South to the North East.
“We know that there has been some controversy over the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge line that has since been laid to rest by Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, but it seems like not many Nigerians know that the project will touch 13 States, that’s over one third of the country’s 36 States.
“It is clear that the economic multiplier effect would be massive, considering the over 20,000 direct and 50,000 indirect jobs that it is estimated to generate; that is aside from the economic activities that will be boosted at every station on the Eastern Corridor up to the North East region.
“This is the same situation that the country is gradually witnessing with the recently commissioned and much shorter Itakpe-Warri project which crisscrosses three states but will ultimately terminate in Abuja.
“The commercial variation introduced by the Buhari administration to what was initially conceived as a freight project almost 40 years ago paved way for 12 railway stations in towns mainly in Edo and Delta States and of course the local economy is receiving a daily boost.
“The same can be said of the now operational Lagos-Ibadan phase of the Lagos-Kano rail line and we make bold to say that the Kano-Maradi project, as well as the Lagos-Calabar line, will also boost the economy of villages and towns along the rail routes”, it said.
BMO added that the decision to include some of the nation’s ports in the nationwide railway modernisation programme will turn out to be a game-changer.
“What is happening under President Muhammadu Buhari is an integrated transport system in which virtually all the rail projects either terminates at a Port or is linked to one.
“It is the first time Nigeria would be having a truly intermodal transport which was not even contemplated by previous administrations that made earlier inputs into the national railway modernisation programme.
“We can just imagine how in a few years Nigerians would be able to seamlessly transport goods by rail from the Apapa Port in Lagos to any town along the Lagos-Kano route, or from the Bonny Deep-sea Port to anywhere in North-East Nigeria.
“This is the legacy the Buhari administration would bequeath to many Nigerians who have no idea of a proper railway network, or an intermodal transport system”.
The group is convinced that President Buhari would ensure that the 36-month timeline for the delivery of ongoing railway projects are met so that many of them would be operational before the end of his tenure in office.