The Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Transportation to immediately take steps to ensure completion of the construction of the Ajaokuta-Otukpo rail line.
The upper chamber also advised the Ministry to incorporate construction of siding rail to Okaba in Ankpa Local Government Area to ease transportation of coal to the various end-user companies.
The advice was given after consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Jibrin Isah (APC, Kogi East). The lawmaker, in his motion, underscored the need for the speedy completion of the rail line from Ajaokuta to Otukpo in order to facilitate operations of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and boost other economic activities through ease of transportation.
According to him, the abundant commercial deposit of coal in Okaba, Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, is indispensable and critical to the revamping of Ajaokuta Steel Company. He added that Dangote Cement at Obajana and Kogi State Super Cement Company at Allo-Itobe are major users of coal from Okaba, and their products transported by road.
He stated further that three major ceramic companies in Nigeria (West African Ceramics Company, BN Ceramics Company Ltd, and Royal Ceramics Ltd, all located in Ajaokuta are major users of Okaba coal, and currently utilize road transportation to move coal to their various locations.
He stressed that with the attendant high costs associated with transportation of coal, the same are passed over to the final consumers by way of high prices of their products.