ABUJA—The Chairman, Sub-Committee on Railway Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, Chike Okogwu, said weekend that the committee had expended N32 billion on railway projects.
Okogwu, who revealed this in an interview with newsmen, assured that the committee was working assiduously to ensure that all the projects were completed on schedule, despite challenges.
He said the issues of insurgency and flood remained a major source of concern to the government and contractors handling the projects, particularly the three projects that constituted Eastern Line.
He said: “SURE-P is intervening in the railway sector. As at today, we are working in the Eastern Line from Port-Harcourt to Makurdi, Makurdi to Kafanchan, and from Gombe to Maiduguri. So, we have up to three contracts from Eastern Line.
“For example, at some points, one of the contractors delivered materials at site, and went into restaurant to have dinner, the insurgents came in there and executed about 10 of them, it took a while to convince them to come back to site.
“We will also agree that, two to three years ago, we did not have flooding, so some places had just been discovered to be flood prone areas, because of the climate change, and having seen what happened to us last year, what SURE-P decided to do, as a task team, is to be proactive. So, nonetheless, we are not going to go beyond 2014.”
Okogwu also explained the reason for the delay in the modernization of Abuja – Kaduna rail line, noting that kilometre 16 to 20, which is about four kilometres in Kubwa axis, were occupied by residents, adding that there was need for them to be compensated.
He said: “Although compensation is not the issue, as compensation is being taken care of by government, it takes time because there is process to follow and it has to be done with human face. You don’t create more problems when you have not solved one.”