From: Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, has pleaded with the Federal Government to build a railway line that would connect his state capital, Lokoja, with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Governor Bello made the appeal during the recent flag-off and maintenance of dredging of 162km Ajaokuta-Onitsha waterways by an agency under the Ministry of Transportation, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He said that the railway project would boost economic activities.
In his words: “Kogi is bound by 10 states and if we harness the opportunities, the challenges will vanish. As our big brother at the federal cabinet, before our Minister nominee joins you as soon as he is cleared, I want to urge you to work hand in hand with him to ensure that all the potentials in Kogi are harnessed especially transportation.
“We want to make this demand either in this year’s budget or next year, to connect Kogi state with FCT by railway. We are aware of the efforts you have made in ensuring that Itakpe is connected to Warri.
“I just hope that my brothers in the National Assembly particularly those representing Kogi State will take this up to ensure that enough fund is appropriated to complete Itakpe railway line and appropriate enough fund to have a rail connecting Lokoja or Itakpe to FCT just as we have railway connecting FCT to Kaduna.
“It will in no small way ameliorate our problems in Kogi by opening up the state for more businesses within the state and the outside world,” Governor Bello noted.
While commenting on the project, he said: “We are happy that this dredging project, which will cover a distance of 162km from Ajaokuta to Onitsha, will be undertaken by NIWA on behalf of the Ministry.
“NlWA knows these waters well, and has the necessary equipment and expertise to handle the Project. It is also expected that the Environmental Impact Assessments have been duly conducted to ameliorate any adverse effect of the process to native communities, their farmlands and fishing places,” he added.