NIGERIA’S federal government has been accused of marginalising the southeast geo-political zone when it comes to the provision of railway services by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (Huriwa).
Of late, Nigeria has been making attempts to revive her comatose railway network originally built by the British during the colonial era. This programme has involved upgrading the 19th century single gauge tracks into standards ones, with the Abuja to Kaduna and Lagos to Ibadan sections already functional.
There used to be a Port Harcourt to Kano line that served the southeast but this has not been revived yet. According to Huriwa, the resuscitation of the Nigerian railways will surely go down in history as one of the surest legacies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, only if the federal government would fix the missing gap which is the non-availability of any sort of railway resuscitation in the southeast, Rivers and Cross River axis of the country.
Huriwa national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, appealed to President Buhari, through the transport minister Rotimi Amaechi to redress the injustice against the southeast, Rivers and Cross River axis of the country. He urged President Buhari to immediately commence work to revive the railways in Enugu, Okigwe, Umuahia, Port Harcourt Aba, Uyo and Calabar, which if done will significantly boost the transportation sector and informal trades and would create thousands of jobs.
Mr Onwubiko said: “We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that there is continuity of the revolutionary railway resuscitation programme of the immediate past administration of the hitherto moribund Nigeria railways in some parts of the country, particularly in the north, southwest, and south-south geopolitical zones. However this commendation is incomplete because there is a stark injustice being meted out to the over 60m Igbo speaking nationality and their neighbours in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers who don’t have the privilege of seeing their moribund railway tracks revived so services can be restored with speed and equanimity as are being done in northern Nigeria, southwest Nigeria and some parts of Delta State.”
In addition, Huriwa also urged the southeast governors and their counterparts from Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River to work in synergy with Mr Amaechi to address the clear lapses in railway resuscitation in their states. It is not yet clear when the planned Calabar to Lagos line will get going.