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Residents hail Tinubu as FG flags off Port Harcourt to Aba rail services

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…promises smooth, safe train operation

Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

Thousands of residents of Rivers and Abia States have hailed President Bola Tinubu led Federal Government for the commissioning of the Port Harcourt to Aba rail line.

The Federal Government on Tuesday flagged off commercial services on the 62.0 kilometers of the Port-Harcourt to Aba section of the 1443 km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge rail project.

The Minister of Transportation, Senator Said Alkali, who performed the official flag-off of the commencement of rail services on the Eastern Corridor Narrow Gauge Line in Port Harcourt, assured of smooth operation of the train, and promised government’s commitment in ensuring adequate security for users of the rail lines running.

Alkali stated that the completion and commencement of services was part of the intensified drive by the Federal Government to facilitate trade, enhance mobility and accessibility, and ensure connectivity between the southern parts of the country and the northeastern part of the country.

The Minister who stated that the project shows President Tinubu’s commitment in the transportation sector and bringing succor to Nigerians, said the entire stretch of the rail line would cover five geo-political zones of the country and would be linked to Onne Port and Port Harcourt Port.

He said: “We give God the glory that we are here to commission the train service from Port Harcourt to Aba and to thank the Commander-in-Chief, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his support and commitment to the Ministry of Transportation out of his desire to bring succor to the people of this great country.

“The Eastern narrow gauge covers five geopolitical zones of the country. It covers South-South, South-East, North-Central, North-West and North-East.

“This project means a lot to the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and I’m happy that today one segment is being put to use, and this is the first presence of the Railway Corporation in the South South.

“So, we are prepared, we are going to ride on the train from Port Harcourt to Aba, and from today, the passenger train will commence. By the grace of God Almighty, from Aba, we are going to proceed to Enugu, and from Port Harcourt to Onne Port and Port Harcourt Port so that we will be able to put freight service in the haulage.”

He revealed that the ministry was considering engaging an investor on retrofitting of the locomotives from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG) to further bring down the cost of transportation.

“This line has been test-run for about one week now and we have no issue so by the grace of God, we will not have any issue of any locomotive breaking down on the road, the minister stated,” Alkali said.

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