By Ushang Ewa
The 1.2 kilometers Cross River monorail which runs between the Calabar International Convention Center (CICC) and the Tinapa Premier Business and Leisure resort is currently grounded due to armored cable theft CrossRiverWatch authoritatively reports.
It is unclear when the theft occurred but findings revealed it was shortly after the commissioning of the facility by the then Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
The cables are said to supply power to the monorail which has a maximum cruise speed of 25 kph with three stops: The CICC, Tinapa Lakeside hotel and the main rail station close to T-mart.
The theft is said to have been incidented at the Federal Housing Police station.
But, efforts to reach the DPO, Supol Enene on this number: 08032736220 were abortive as the number was busy at three different times when dialled.
The state is yet to comment on this.
The monorail was opened to the public during the Christmas holidays in 2016 by Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade whom was impressed with the number of visitors at Tinapa when he visited on routine inspection.
CrossRiverWatch Government House Correspondent, Jonathan Ugbal said that the decision seemed to have been made instantly as free rides were given to those around who were fascinated at the idea of a free ride.
“Mr. Ayade immediately directed his spokesman, Mr. Christian Ita to run an advert that the monorail was open to the public at an affordable rate of NGN500 and but for probably administrative bureaucracies, the ad would have been running before we left there.
“His excitement was visible as he directed the operators to give about two free rides to the bystanders while the press crew were positioned at strategic points to get good video clips and images as well as interview the lucky tourists of whom most were visiting Calabar for the yuletide,” Jonathan said.
The project is estimated to have cost between Five (5) and Seven (7) billion Naira with the Ayade’s administration claiming to have spent 50 percent of the total sum.
The project was conceived during the administration of Mr. Donald Duke to run from the Margaret Ekpo international airport to Tinapa.
And, the succeeding Governor Liyel Imoke’s administration redesigned the route to go through Etta-Agbor, Yellow Duke and a few other major streets and terminating at Tinapa.
But, the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula to the Cameroon’s as well as the removal of the state from the list of oil producing states, thereby depriving the state from benefitting from the 13 percent derivation revenue sharing formula which was occasioned by the loss of oil wells forced the Imoke’s administration to redesign again.
The rail route was finally designed to run between CICC located at the Summit Hills which was rechristened Senator Liyel Imoke Hills earlier this year by Mr. Ayade and Tinapa.
However, Mr. Ayade early in his administration said he was going to extend it to the airport.