Umar stated this last Thursday in his office while receiving the Governors of Kogi and Anambra states Capt. Idris Wada and Peter Obi in his office.
Umar also stated that the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will collaborate to ensure that the kind of the recent boat mishap witnessed in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, will not happen again.
The two Governors had come to the Minister to solicit for the inclusion of Onitsha and Ayangba, respectively, in the 25-year Rail Development Master plan developed for the country.
The duo, who emphasised the importance of trade along the Onitsha- Ayangba- Abuja axis, stressed the need to include the axis in the Master plan to facilitate trade development.
They equally congratulated the Minister on the successful rehabilitation of the Western line rail services (from Lagos to Kano), saying they were looking forward to the completion of other lines.
Specifically, Wada lauded the Federal Government for the completion of the dredging of the Lower Niger from Lokoja to Onitsha, adding that Kogi was already getting expressions of interest from businessmen who want to establish businesses along the route who are also desirous of rail linkage.
The Kogi State Governor equally thanked the Federal Government for the development of an inland jetty at Idah, the historical capital of Igala Kingdom.
Wada also informed the Transport Minister that he had set up a committee to look into safety steps to ensure smooth inland water transportation especially for passengers between Kogi and Nasarawa states.
Kogi State, according to him, is in the process of acquiring necessary boats for safe transportation.
Responding to the Governors’ request, the Minister stated that the 25-year Master plan is not sacrosanct in principle and promised to get the technical experts in the Ministry to look into the request as soon as possible.
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