A group, known as the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (CSEYL), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to review the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow guage railway project.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president launched the U.S. $3.2 billion Eastern Rail line on Tuesday.
CSEYL argued that Federal Government’s plan to construct a narrow gauge rail line in the South-East would make no meaningful impact in the economic development of the zone, known for commerce and industry.
The group made this known in a statement jointly issued on Tuesday in Aba by its President-General and Secretary-General, Chief Goodluck Ibem and Kanice Igwe, respectively.
It stated that narrow gauge rail lines were no longer fashionable because of their limitations.
According to the statement, the limitations necessitated the change to standard guage globally to ensure modern transport systems that would enhance commerce.
The group argued that if the federal government could give Maradi, a town in the neighbouring Niger Republic, a standard gauge rail line, the south east deserved better than a narrow guage.
It described the allocation of a narrow gauge rail line to the zone as an “unfair treatment”, considering that southeast was paying tax to the federal government.
“It is an aberation for a child whose father makes clothes to be going about naked.
“The federal government has provided clothes for other people, when her own children are naked. This aught not to be.
“We reject the narrow guage rail line and demand for standard gauge from Port Harcourt to Maduguri.
“We therefore call on the federal government to review the contract terms and award a fresh contract for a standard gauge rail line for the zone,” it said.