By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE South South Economic Summit Committee, SSESC, led by former Presidential candidate, Professor Pat Utomi, weekend, urged the Federal Government to urgently commence the construction of the Lagos-Calabar railway line which is estimated to cost 5.7 billion dollars.
The committee in a communiquÃ© issued to newsmen after their meeting in Benin City, Edo State, said the execution of the project would create more than 6,000 direct jobs and over 60,000 ancillary jobs.
The committee commended ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua for his earlier commitment to invest 1 billion dollars out of the Federal Government excess crude proceeds into the project and expressed optimism that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan will uphold and implement this commitment.
The SSESC noted that with the political impasse being over, the nation can now move together as one indivisible nation so as to address its several challenges that are people oriented.
According to the communiquÃ©, other infrastructure in the region should be developed alongside adequate framework for their sustenance so as to address the issue of dwindling businesses in the region. Accordingly, contractors handling the East-West road dualizaton project should be called upon to expedite action to complete the project within the specific time.
â€œThe Federal Governmentâ€™s indulgence is craved to concession gas distribution plants in the South South for investors; this would enable the various states Independent Power Projects function optimally as well as support the development of industrial parks within the region,â€ it stated.
The communiquÃ© further expressed its gratitude to President Yarâ€™Adua for his initiative towards the peaceful development of the South South region, just as it wished for his speedy recovery and return to office.