Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The on-going dismantling of the Eastern rail line has drawn the ire of Anglican Bishops as well as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as the duo cry foul over the “suspicious development.”
Ikengaonline observed that the rail track connecting Enugu with Port Harcourt is being dismantled and carted away to unknown destinations with the aid of security personnel.
This development has been raising dust among locals, and the silence of the Railway Authorities and the Federal Government has not helped matters.
Irked by the development, Anglican bishops who spoke at the 13th Diocesan Christian Men Fellowship Conference held in Umuahia, demanded explanations from the Federal Government on the whereabouts of the disconnected rail tracks.
“We are not comfortable with the manner the rail lines are being disconnected and taken away to unknown destination without any official communication to the members of the public,” the Bishops fumed in a statement.
The statement signed by the Bishop of Anglican Communion, Diocese of Umuahia, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Ibeabuchi, also tasked those in authority to provide explanations to the disturbing development.
It read in part: “What is happening? The Federal Government promised sometime last year to build a narrow guage from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, linking up Ajaokuta, Bonny Seaport?
“What’s going on? Are they now dismantling the rail lines in order to commence the work or are they trying to totally disconnect the South-Eastern corridor? We are watching.”
In the same vein, IPOB has alleged that the action was part of the plot to stop Biafra actualisation, and cripple the South-Eastern economy.
IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, wondered why the Federal Government would be in a hurry to dismantle existing rail lines in the South-East but sidelined the zone when it linked Niger Republic with rail line, accused the Federal Government of sinister plans over the dismantling of the rail lines.
IPOB argued that dismantling “existing though obsolete rail lines in Biafraland particularly in Igbo territory,” without any replacement or convincing explanations was suspicious.
The statement read in part: “The rail lines in Igbo land were built by the colonial masters who saw the need for Igbo land to be connected by rail lines because we were one of the most civilized nations around, and also an industrial hub then as well as now.
“Unfortunately the present Government has decided to remove all the rail tracks with no plan to replace them because of their hatred against Ndigbo which is beyond comprehension.”
IPOB said it was appalling that the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government “did not lay new rail lines in Igboland to improve transportation or commerce but now busy removing the old ones laid by the colonial masters.”
The pro- Biafra movement challenged the Federal Government to respond to insinuations that the dismantled rail lines “are being used to repay China Government Eastern States’ loans”
“We ask them, when did Eastern states borrow money from China?
IPOB promised to lay rail lines to “link Biafra with its Ambazonian neighbours.”
“IPOB is not afraid nor shaking and promises every Biafran that very soon we will start laying our own railways in Biafraland that will link us with Ambazonia and other African Countries.
“IPOB assures our people that when Biafra comes, modern and electric speed train tracks that will operate both underground and above ground will be constructed.
“The government of Nigeria refused to lay new railway lines into Igboland but were busy laying rail lines from Katsina to Niger Republic with resources gotten from Biafra Land.
“Whatever inferior, substandard, and shoddy railroads they are building now is nothing compared to what we shall build in the immediate future.”