Extend Rail Line to Lokoja, Benin, Kogi Assembly Tells FG

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Kogi Assembly has appealed to the Federal Government to extend rail line from Abuja to Lokoja and Benin to ease transportation and haulage of goods.

The Assembly made the appeal following the adoption of a motion moved by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Aliyu Akuh (PDP-Omala), at plenary session in Lokoja on Friday.

Akuh held that the dependence on roads to transport heavy goods had led trailers, tankers and heavy trucks into competition with commuter traffic everywhere.

This, according to him, has often resulted in fatal accidents, infrastructure damage and unsustainable costs of road rehabilitation.

He added that attempts to revamp the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), had been hampered by lack of political will.

Akuh said that as observed by former Acting Managing Director of the corporation, Mazi Jetson Nwankwo, efforts to revamp and restore the sector to its former glory were frustrated by successive leaders.

The deputy speaker noted that Kogi had large and more diverse base of inputs such as raw materials, energy, labour and broader markets for diverse outputs and therefore, deserved rail transportation.

The lawmaker stressed that the presence of coal in Okaba, Itobe and Odu in Ankpa, Ofu and Dekina local governments areas of the state respectively could aid the rail transportation.

He said natural resources were being exploited at present by Dangote Cement Company to power its plant.

“Commuters are looking up to NRC for safe and comfortable ride and our network of roads will eventually be rid of heightened hazard and rapid degradation”, he said.

Mr Victor Omofaiye (PDP-Ijumu), seconded the motion. He submitted that the current economic recession made the call worthwhile to ease transportation, adding that the project could be done in two phases – Abuja-Lokoja first and then, Lokoja-Benin.

Speaker of the House, Alhaji Umar Imam said extension of the rail line to Lokoja would attract a lot of advantages to the state.

The motion received overwhelming support of the members through voice vote when the question was put.

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