Senate invites Amaechi over Eastern rail line

Senate yesterday invited Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi to appear before its joint committee on Land Transport and Local and Foreign Debts over the alleged exclusion of eastern rail lines.

Amaechi is summoned to tell the upper chamber why the eastern rail corridor, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, was allegedly excluded in the scheme of rail expansion and modernisation.

The invitation of the minister followed the adoption of a motion by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu on the alleged exclusion of the eastern rail corridor in the ongoing modernisation of rails.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe raised a similar motion last year when he prayed the Senate to put on hold a foreign loan for rail lines due to exclusion of eastern rail corridor in the rail expansion plan.

Amaechi told the Senate that there was no plan to exclude the Southeast area in the rail modernisation scheme.

He assured that the area will be included in the 2018 borrowing plans of the Federal Government.

Ekweremadu said yesterday that the exclusion of the eastern corridor in the rail modernisation scheme is not good for the country.

He urged the Senate to intervene and prevail on the Federal Government to take steps to include in the rail line expansion project.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, who supported the motion, said it appears there is no commitment on the part of the Federal Government to pay attention to the eastern part in the rail development programme.

Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, who also supported the motion, noted that General Electric, which ought to have handled the project, has not abandoned it.

Senate President Bukola Saraki said the issue of equity should be considered in the distribution of railway projects.

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