Indications have emerged that the Nigerian government will name the recently completed Warri Railway Station after the immediate past Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, made the declaration in an Instagram Live video with publisher/journalist, Dele Momodu, adding that the Itakpe-Warri rail line would have been commissioned after its completion by President Muhammadu Buhari if not for the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now the project is ready for Commissioning but because of Coronavirus everything is on hold. And you know the President is a shy person. He doesn’t like public show.
“What he said is that let’s just focus on our achievements and by the time we leave office people will see what we have done but some of us are insisting that we commission some of our projects. We have decided to name it after former President Goodluck Jonathan.”
In 1987, work began on the line, which was conceived as a route for transporting iron ore from mines in Itakpe, Kogi State to steelworks at Ajaokuta. However, the project was abandoned for several years before the current administration revisited and completed it.
The line covers twelve stations, two of them situated between Itakpe, Ajaokuta and Warri.
The stations are Itakpe; Eganiy; Adogbe; Itogbo; Aghenebode; Uromi; Egehen; Igbanke; Agbor; Abraka; Okpara and Ujewu stations.
According to Mr Amaechi, plan is in the pipeline to establish a yard for fabricating and producing rail equipment at the Warri Rail Station.
The Warri yard is also the location of 1,000 housing units currently under construction for Nigerian Railway workers, he said.
Amaechi noted that government took the decision of naming the line after the former president in recognition of his administration’s tremendous contribution to the project.
“When I was appointed the minister for transportation, the president warned ‘do not start new contracts, go and complete old ones.
“We met Itakpe-Warri rail line which had been in existence for 34 years uncompleted; it would have been the first standard gauge line in Africa if it was completed.
“Based on the president’s instruction, I did a memo; I thought we will borrow money from China but the president refused. He said we should use our internal funds to execute the project.”
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