Factional Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr Okechukwu Isiguzoro, has condemned the decision of the Federal Government to construct a single gauge rail line that runs from Port Harcourt, River State through some South-East states to the North.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 9, through the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, launched the US$3.2bn Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge railway reconstruction project with new branch lines to Owerri, Imo State and Damaturu, Yobe State.
But Isiguzoro, in a statement on Saturday, said the South-South and South-East regions deserved more than what the Federal Government had proposed, urging the Federal Government to expand the project to a standard gauge rail line.
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He said, “The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, recently laid the foundation for the construction of a single gauge rail line from Port Harcourt that will pass through the South-East. We have been receiving the least in everything in this country since 2015.
“This issue of a single gauge rail line that will pass through the region is rather unfortunate. We do not, however, have any option other than to accept what is happening but we urge the minister to ensure that he sources funds to make that project a standard gauge because what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.”
Isiguzoro, however, commended the Federal Government for reopening the dry seaport in Onitsha, Anambra State, saying it would boost the revenue of states around the facility.
He appealed to the Federal Government to open a new seaport in the Akwette, Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia State to link the region with the Atlantic Ocean.
“Akwette has a blue sea that is 15km away from the Atlantic Ocean. If this is developed, goods from all parts of the world can easily get to the South-East,” he stated.
The Ohanaeze secretary-general also urged Igbo investors all over the country to build their business headquarters in any South-East state to boost the economy of the region.
He said, “We call on all Igbo investors in Nigeria to relocate their business headquarters to their fatherland.”
“Whether the business is in Lagos, Kano, or any other part of the country, they can continue with their business, but the headquarters should go to their home state; it will help boost the economic potentials of their states in Igbo land.”