“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, South West, and South South geopolitical zones. However this commendation is incomplete because there is a stark injustice being meted out to the over 60 million 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 and South West of Nigeria and some parts of Delta State”.
Making this commendation is the leading Civil Rights Advocacy group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which observed that the revival of the Railways with modern coaches and reconstructed railway lines in the North, South West and around Warri in Delta State has seen a remarkable improvements in the smooth transportation of citizens and thereby saving millions of commuters a lot of man hours that would have been wasted commuting through the crime infested and malfunctional national networks. HURIWA is also happy that movements of goods from the Seaports are now in progress directly enroute or through the Railway services which will inevitably save the national roads network from damages that are unleashed by heavy duty vehicles that hitherto ferry haulage by road from the Apapa Seaport.
HURIWA in a media statement by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, said 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 will fix the missing gap which is the non- availability of any sort of railway resuscitation in the South East, Rivers, Cross Rivers axis of the Country.
HURIWA is therefore appealing passionately to President Buhari through the transportation minister Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to redress the injustice against the South East, Rivers and Cross Rivers axis of the Country by immediately commencing work to revive the Railways in Enugu Okigwe, Umuahia, Port Harcourt Aba, Uyo, Calabar which if done will significantly boost the transportation sector, and informal trades and would create thousands of Jobs.
The Rights group cited a recent scholarly work on the economic gains of efficient transportation system thus:- “Transportation is a non separable part of any society. It exhibits a very close relation to the style of life, the range and location of activities and the goods and services which will be available for consumption. Advances in transportation has made possible changes in the way of living and the way in which societies are organized and therefore have a great influence in the development of civilizations. This chapter conveys an understanding of the importance of transportation in the modern society by presenting selected characteristics of existing transportation systems, their use and relationships to other human activities.”
HURIWA quoted the scholars as affirming rightly that transportation is responsible for the development of civilizations from very old times by meeting travel requirement of people and transport requirement of goods. Such movement has changed the way people live and travel. In developed and developing nations, a large fraction of people travel daily for work, shopping and social reasons. But transport also consumes a lot of resources like time, fuel, materials and land.
“HURIWA agrees with the academic conclusion that economics involves production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. People depend upon the natural resources to satisfy the needs of life but due to non uniform surface of earth and due to difference in local resources, there is a lot of difference in standard of living in different societies. So there is an immense requirement of transport of resources from one particular society to other. These resources can range from material things to knowledge and skills like movement of doctors and technicians to the places where there is need of them”.
HURIWA is therefore calling on governors of the South East of Nigeria, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers to work in synergy with the minister of Transportation to address the clear lapses in railway resuscitation in their States.