President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday in Gombe advised the people of the state to use the advantage of the rehabilitated Gombe –Kafancha-Kaduna intercity train services for the development of the state’s economy.
Mr. Jonathan, who was represented by the Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, said that the inauguration of the train services was crucial to the growth and development of the Gombe and other adjoining states.
“Though the inter-city service is not new to the agrarian communities of Gombe state, but for so many years in the recent past, the citizens of the state have been yearning for the return of the mass carrier of passengers and freight.
“Today, we are telling the world that our railway that has been in comatose is fully back,” he said.
He said that apart from the fact that citizens would have more transport service options, they would also pay less using it.
According to him, the prices of various commodities will also be cheaper.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Bamanga Tukur, said that the greatest glory in living “is not in never failing, but rising up after a fall”.
“Train services are back in Gombe. My good people of Gombe state, let us make a good use of this golden opportunity provided by the Federal Government, as a golden gift of the century,” Mr. Tukur, former People’s Democratic Party, PDP, national chairman, said.
He added that the services were capable of generating over 7,000 jobs for the people of the state.
The Managing Director of the Corporation, Adeseyi Sijuwade, said that the flag-off of Gombe-Kafancha-Kaduna train service followed the completion of the rehabilitation of additional 678km of the line from Makurdi to Gombe.
Mr. Sijuwade said that along with a 179km branch from Kafancha to Kaduna, the train service was being extended from Makurdi to Gombe, and also from Kafanchan to Kaduna.
“I am happy to report that today’s flag-off is one in the series of proposed flag-offs in the northern part of the eastern line.
“Once the challenges of insurgency are fully addressed, we will be able to complete the rehabilitation section of the Gombe –Maiduguri and also commence train services in the zone,” he said.