A university lecturer, Dr. John Udeh has called on the Federal Government to ensure that the proposed seven new rail way projects captured in the 2019 budget are implemented when passed into law by the National Assembly.
Dr. Udeh who is a lecturer at the National Open University, gave the charge on Monday during an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt.
He commended the federal government initiative to develop the railway transportation system as an alternative to road transportation inadequacies experienced in recent times.
According to him, the federal government had proposed N80 billion for seven railway projects across the country and the money was billed to serve as counterparts funds for ongoing and new railway projects recently approved by the Buhari’s administration. The N80 billion, he continued was contained in the 2019 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by the president, and if the budget is approved on time and the counterpart fund paid to the contractor, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), there are indications that the projects might commence this year.
He decried the situation where an amount for a certain project would be projected in a proposed budget and when passed into law the funds would be diverted to other use, rather than using it for the project which the funds were allocated to.
Dr. Udeh lamented that the non implementation of budgets in the past and present administration, had been the major cause of under development in the country, stressing that the seven proposed new railway projects would not be visible if this misappropriation of funds were not addressed.
It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council in 2017 approved the new railway projects including the Kano-Katshina-Jibiya-Maradi which passes through Daura, the president’s home town in Katsina State.
The project cost about $16 billion.
Other projects include Lagos – Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja-Warri, Port Harcourt – Maiduguri, Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja- Warri Port and refinery including Warri new Harbour and Bonny Deep Sea Port and Port Harcourt among other rail projects.
Lagos Set To Tackle Transport Challenges
The Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) says efforts have been intensified to introduce quality bus corridor in the metropolis to further tackle transport challenges.
An Assistant Director of LAMATA, Mr Kolawole Ojelabi made the disclosure in an interview with The Tide source on Monday in Lagos.
According to him, the state government is aware of the need for improved transport service as a direct consequence of migration to the state.
“In Lagos State, we have the issue of bus routing. “When you look at the number of buses we have, you will discover that they are not enough to service the population,” he said.
The official said that the state had a population of more than 20 million people, adding that “The past government brought in about 880 buses in a bid to improve the transport system.
“These buses are currently being redeployed by an agency of government known as the Lagos Bus Services Ltd., who are also in-charge of asset management,” he said.
According to him, road development in the state is being taken gradually for effective management and spread.
Ojelabi said that the government was therefore, working on quality bus corridors which would spread to more parts of the metropolis.
According to him, this will take effect before the end of the year.
He noted that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services had not got to every part of the state; hence, the need for creation of the corridors.
Ojelabi said that where the BRT services were not available, the government would provide new medium-sized buses to service the transportation needs of the people.
According to him, these will come with bus terminuses and shelters to ensure easy access.
He also said that the government had intensified efforts to speed up implementation of its Blue Line rail project from Okokomaiko to Marina.
“Currently, there is a lot of work going on on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
“The whole essence is to fast-track the progress of work from the Lagos end here to at least Lagos State University, Ojo.
Ojelabi said that completion of the road and rail projects would discourage residents of the area from driving their cars to Lagos Island as they would prefer using train or BRT.
” Once this is done, it will also reduce cases of attacks by hoodlums on commuters who will now have the opportunity of riding in BRT or train. “It is a gradual process but we will surely achieve these.
“I can assure you that work has been intensified to realise this as the government is working to ensure the completion of the project and commencement of operations before the end of this administration,” he added.
Drivers Demand Trailer Park Along Eleme-Bori Road
Following the incessant road congestion experienced along Eleme-Bori road, commercial drivers have urged the Rivers State Government to build an alternative trailer park that would accommodate tankers and trucks that have been identified as major causes of the congestion on the road.
The Tide investigation revealed that due to lack of trailer park along the route, tankers and trailers resort to parking on both sides of the road, causing road congestion and traffic gridlock.
Apparently frustrated by this congestion, commercial drivers plying the route have appealed to the state government to provide an alternative trailer park that would accommodate trailers and tankers, and thus reduce the rate of road side parking by drivers.
Speaking to The Tide, a Bori bound commercial driver, Barile Deekor said the congestion was as a result of the indiscriminate parking on both sides of the road by tanker and truck drivers, in addition to numerous potholes along the road.
He said the gridlock at times caused delay for as much as two to three hours and in a way affected the daily financial turnover of the drivers.
Also speaking with our correspondent, Edet Udom, a commercial bus driver said “our vehicles keep breaking down, and it costs us some extra expenses to maintain the vehicles due to bad road, especially from Eleme junction to trailer park.
“People (drivers) are running one way and this has resulted to an accident that claimed one life recently. The Police and Federal Road Safety Corps are all there collecting toll from drivers, instead of clearing the road.
“Tanker and trailer drivers are the major players in this act as they occupy both sides of the road therefore, if government can provide an alternative park for them, the road will be decongested”.
In another development, a community leader in Eleme, Mr … Mene has urged the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to employ the services of notable construction companies like Julius Berger and Reynoid Construction Company (RCC) for the proposed rehabilitation of Aleto bridge that is presently caving in.
Mene who gave the charge in a chat with newsmen warned that if the rehabilitation contract was awarded to individuals based on political patronage, the desired results may not be achieved.
He however, commended the NDDC for indicating interest to carry out repair work on the Aleto bridge that is about to collapse.
Motorists, Others Laud Wike On Road Rehabilitation
Residents of Rumuolumeni in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his promise to embark on rehabilitation work on key roads in the area before the end of the month.
The Tide reports that before the governor’s promise, the people of Rumuolumeni had made several calls on the state government to rehabilitate the roads which they said have crippled the economy of the place as well as hampered their efforts to fight insecurity in the area.
Speaking to The Tide, a resident in the area, Bekwele Worlu, told TheTide that the deplorable condition of many internal roads in Rumuolumeni had slowed down economic activities in the area.
According to him, most tenants have relocated while many shop owners were out of business due to the inaccessibility of roads in the area.
He posited that Rumuolumeni has always been an economically viable town that contributed immensely to the economy of the state, but wondered why such a community would be neglected in the area of road infrastructure.
He therefore, appealed to the state government to create an enabling environment for business to thrive in the area.
Similarly, motorists plying Ada-George/Ngbuoba NTA route have also commended the efforts of Governor Wike for embarking on remediation work on the road.
A motorist, Ebuka Nwangbo, told our correspondent that before remediation work commenced on the road, the level of flooding experienced at the location junction was alarming.
He however, expressed joy that the ongoing work on the road would assuage the feelings of road users in the area.
Politics3 days ago
Guber Aspirtant Wants Electorate To Vote Credible Candidates
Politics3 days ago
NASS Ready To Work For Nigerians -Lawan
Sports3 days ago
I Never Felt Supported By Women In Sport – Semenya
Sports3 days ago
Enugu Grassroots Football Managers Call For Sponsorship
Business3 days ago
AfDB Gets $20m Investment For Energy Inclusion
Politics3 days ago
Group Moves To Promote Women’s Participation In Politics
Niger Delta3 days ago
Okowa Wants FG To Resuscitate Warri Port
Business3 days ago
Electricity: Discos Under-Performing, FG Must Change Strategy -Osinbajo