- Amaechi, Delta community leader in hot verbal exchanges as Nigerian Railways flags off freight services from Warri to Itakpe
Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and the President-General of Ujevwu community in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, High Chief Notoma Godwin on Friday engaged in hot verbal exchanges as the Nigerian Railway Corporation formally flagged off freight services on its Warri-Itakpe standard gauge railway Line.
The scene started with High Chief Notoma Godwin, in his goodwill message at the event held at the Ujevwu Railway Station, faulting the Federal Government’s naming of the railway station after late Chief Alfred Rewane, an Itsekiri from Warri, when, according to him, the public asset could have been named after equally eminently qualified Urhobo sons or daughters, some of whom he said had fought gallantly for the emancipation of railway projects in the area.
The community President-General also kicked against identifying the location of the railway station as Warri insisting that Ujevwu is a prominent community in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State just as Warri is domiciled in another Local Government Area.
“The name of the Railway Station should reflect the sensibility of the people of Udu. Udu has its own monarch just as Warri has its own. Our sensibility should not be taken for granted. And we are making this submission for the sake of posterity”, High Chief Notoma Godwin reiterated.
However, Hon. Amaechi, the Transportation Minister dropped off his prepared text when it came to his turn to address the gathering warning against anyone using the forum to aggravate inter communal tensions or clashes that can jeopardise Government’s projects.
“We will not allow anybody to use primordial sentiments to incite the youths to foment trouble whatsoever over location of well-intended government projects. After all, people from the immediate catchment area are ultimately the highest beneficiaries, socially and economically”, Amaechi said.
The Minister specifically warned that government would not take lightly to a situation where communities degenerate to infightings against one another rather than rallying round and jointly protect development projects in their areas.
Earlier, the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari represented by the Managing Director of Nigera Gas Company Limited, Engr. Seyi Omotowo, noted with delight that the official flag-off of haulage of NNPC line pipes imported for the construction of 614 kmx40″ Ajaokuta, Kaduna, Kano (AKK) GAS pipeline project inaugurated since June 30, 2020, would go a long way in cushioning the haulage problems of the corporation.
“The maiden cargo rail travel championed by NNPC will further support the dream of an industrialised Nigeria through improved transportation of goods across the country. The benedlfits of freight services can only be imagined than described”, he said.
While equating one trip of rail haulage of the NNPC pipes to 32 trailers on the road, the NNPC boss described rail freight services as cheaper, safer, faster means of cargo movement.
He explained that the resolve by the corporation to use rail option of haulage was propelled by the desire to mitigate all identified projects and safety risks to as low as reasonably practicable, while delivering the project in the right quality and time
The Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa remarked that “the railways had profound impact on the initial socioeconomic development of Nigeria and will continue to substantially contribute to the railway corridor community development and the movement of passengers and freight in the most cost-effective, affordable, energy saving and environmentally friendly manner”.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, in his message, charged all communities across the state wherever public assets are located to protect them jealously as if they are their personal proerties.