UDUF CALLS FOR URGENT COMPLETION OF ALADJA/
ADJAOKUTA RAIL PROJECT
The Urhobo development and unity forum (UDUF) has stressed the need for the urgent completion of the warri Aladja/ Ajaokuta rail project can not be over emphasized Eighteen years after construction work commenced on the 276- kilometre standard gauge rail line linking Warri in Delta State to Ajaokuta, Kogi State, the project has not been completed.
The project, otherwise called the central railway line, was initially planned to be delivered in five years, but it was gathered that the government would need about N40bn to fully get the line ready.
The rail line from Warri, passing through Itakpe, Ajaokuta, Agbor and Ore, with six stations along the route, was conceived to carry steel products and raw materials from the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, but was later abandoned after about 254 kilometres had been done due to lack of funds.
The project was reactivated in 2009 with the Federal Government agreeing to pay N33bn for the design and completion of the remaining 22 kilometres.
The contract was awarded to Team Nigeria and Julius Berger, and was meant to be delivered in March 2013. The contract sum also covered the sidings of the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line up to Delta Steel Aladja, and construction of six stations with the rehabilitation of the completed portion of the line. No money was made available for the execution of the project even though about N45bn was budgeted for the Nigerian Railway Corporation for capital projects by the Jonathan administration in the 2015 budget.
The Urhobo development and unity forum ( UDUF) hereby appeal to Mr president to consider the speedy completion of this project as it would provide and open up business and economic opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths of the Niger Delta region.