By Nathan Nwakamma
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has described the proposal to build a railway network connecting all Niger Delta states as a step in the right direction.
Its President, Peter Igbifa, who made the expression in a statement in Yenagoa on Thursday, said the project would boost commerce in the region.
Recalling that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) recently signed a pact with a US-based group, Atlanta Global Resources Inc. (AGRI), to implement the project, Igbifa said that Niger Delta people were happy at the development and were waiting eagerly for its realisation.
The IYC president described the development as a paradigm shift from the previous focus and character of the NDDC.
”This is a sustainable and enduring project. It is not the usual quick-win projects for which the commission is known for.
”The proposed railway network will surely stimulate the type of economic activities required to place the region on the fast lane of development,” he said.
He said that when realised, the railway project would not only be a monument for regional integration but a big ticket for development.
The Ijaw youth leader urged the NDDC to vigorously pursue the proposal and ensure that it was implemented in the interest of the people.
”The proposal is in tandem with the core mandate of the NDDC. We need to unite to ensure that it is realised,” he said.
Igbifa urged the foreign partners to shun any attempts to discourage them from working with the NDDC to implement the project.
”We are in support of the project. We shall not allow anybody to scuttle its implementation.
”We see it as an answer to our prayer for a regional project that will promote development and regional integration,” he said.