BUHARI COMMISSIONS LAGOS-IBADAN RAIL LINE FOR COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS

As part of efforts to improve the economy of the country, President Mohammed Buhari has commissioned the 158km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line for commercial operations

The President who performed the honours today at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos,  described the feat ‘‘as another milestone in the drive of this administration to revitalize the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight.’’

He pledged that his administration would continue to prioritise the railway system as transportation is the backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country, adding that the Lagos-Ibadan railway is an important rail corridor that would drive the economy of many states.

According to him, ‘‘This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port quayside straight to the Inland Container Depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country.”

He continued: ‘‘In clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by absence of strong and effective infrastructure, we have in the rail sector, further to other ongoing railway infrastructure projects, embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway, which is Ibadan – Kano.

‘‘The Lagos – Kano railway project when completed will link the Kano-Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in Niger Republic will be achieved.”

The President pointed out that connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export points for landlocked neighbouring countries as well as be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.’’

He noted that Ibadan-Kano project would have a connection to the Tin Can Island port and the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.

Buhari commended the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for his drive and tenacity in achieving the milestone recorded and the ‘‘wonderful team in the Ministry’’ for a job well done.

The Minster of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, speaking at the occasion, commended the President saying: “the administration is achieving the resuscitation of our railway system through your consistent and concerted intervention and effort. The Ministry remains committed to your vision for a strong and sustainable railway transportation backbone to engender and facilitate a new path to positive economic transformation of the country”.

On what the project portends, Amaechi said: “we have essentially linked the economic hub of Lagos with the ancient cities of Ibadan and Abeokuta. It is important to note that by virtue of this railway line, Nigerians can now work or trade in Lagos while residing in Ogun or Oyo state because they can now have a safe and convenient daily commute for their travels. There is no doubt that this segment of the ongoing Lagos – Kano railway will foster development along the corridor it traverses”.

The Minister, further observed that the project will improve the standard of living of the over 12million citizens within corridor, create employment and promote trade as well as help decongest the Lagos Port Complex and increase its efficiency.

Also speaking, the Chairman of Board, Nigerian Railways Corporation, (NRC), Ibrahim Alhassan commended the President for completing three standard gauge rail projects (Abuja-Kaduna, Itakpe-Warrior and Lagos Ibadan) which have impacted positively on the lives of the citizens.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chairman of Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Oyo, Seyi Makinde, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, Senate Committee Chairman on Land Transport, Sen. Abdulfatai Buhari, Minister of Works and Housing,  Babatunde Fashola and his counterparts in Informatio and Culture, Sports and Youth Development, Lai Mohammed and Sunday Dare, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki,  first class traditional rulers, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria,  were among dignitaries that graced the occasion.

Eric Ojiekwe

D (PPR)

June 10, 2021

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