President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, flagged off full commercial operations on the Lagos-Ibadan standard guage rail line project, describing it as another milestone in revitalisation of railway projects to boost economic activities in Nigeria.
Buhari said the project was part of the Lagos-Kano railway project, which already has the Abuja-Kaduna component. According to him, the railway project is being given the needed attention it deserves and when the Lagos-Kano project is completed, it will link up to Maradi in Niger Republic.
The President, in his speech at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station in Ebute-Metta, Lagos, said that the ceremony was yet another milestone in the drive of the administration to establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight and position it as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activities in the country.
According to him, the 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.
Meanwhile, to realise the railway modernisation plan of the current administration, the President directed the Federal Ministries of Transportation and Finance to vigorously act on engagement and reaching financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan–Kano rail line and the connection to Tin Can Island Port.
He said that the outstanding segment of the Lagos–Kano rail line, when completed, would link the Kano–Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in Niger Republic, adding that the connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who spoke on behalf of Ogun and Oyo governors, was quick to point out that it was the first time the President was visiting the state after winning election in 2019.
Sanwo-Olu, said the standard gauge rail project was a testament of the Federal Government’s investment in Lagos State.
Earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, expressed gratitude to the President for summoning the courage to take the loan from China-Exim Bank to execute the rail project.
IN another development, Buhari, yesterday, disclosed that the Federal Government had secured 10 convictions for various maritime offences since the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act was signed into law in June 2019.
He made the disclosure in Lagos at the official flag-off of the Deep Blue Project at the ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos.
MEANWHILE, Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, yesterday, said that the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project was in tandem with the state’s transportation master-plan, just as freight stations criss-crossing the state would provide manufacturers good platform to export their goods and services to the outside world.
Abiodun, who stated this after inspecting the new Abeokuta train station at Laderin Estate with Amaechi, said apart from Abeokuta station, Kajola and Agbado in the state also have freight stations.