President Muhammadu Buhari opened the 157-kilometer Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway Line to full commercial operations on Thursday.
He hailed the endeavor as yet another step toward revitalizing the rail system and enhancing socioeconomic activities.
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The president asked for stakeholder participation in the Ibadan-Kano corridor’s construction.
The ceremony took place at the Mobolaji Johnson Station in Ebute Metta.
President Buhari took a ride from Mobolaji Johnson station in Ebute Metta to Energy Nature Light (ENL) Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos, shortly after launching the project.
The President, who emphasized that his administration had prioritized railway infrastructure development, commended Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi for his perseverance in reaching the milestone.
“This marks yet another milestone in this administration’s drive to revitalize the railway system, establish it as a preferred mode of transportation for both passengers and freight, and position it as a transportation backbone capable of transforming industrial and economic activity in the country,” he said.
Within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, this crucial line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transit.
“In addition to other existing railway infrastructure projects, we have begun work on completing the remaining segment of the Lagos-Kano railway (Ibadan-Kano).”
When completed, the Lagos-Kano railway project will connect the Kano-Maradi line at Kano and establish a rail link from Lagos’ southern ports to Maradi in Niger Republic.
The rail link will place Nigerian ports as the people of landlocked Niger Republic’s first choice for import and export operations.
“This would be advantageous to the economy in terms of job generation and wealth creation from new company opportunities.”
“The Federal Ministries of Transportation and Finance have been directed to act vigorously on engagement and financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan-Kano railway and the connection to the Tin Can Island port, as well as the West-East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar, linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yeni and other communities.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, speaking on behalf of his colleagues in Ogun State (Dapo Abiodun) and Oyo State (Seyi Makinde), said the railway project demonstrates the Buhari administration’s commitment to delivering transformational infrastructure in every country.
He said Lagos had been working closely with the Federal Government in its efforts to provide qualitative infrastructure development for the people’s socio-economic benefit.
Sanwo-Olu thanked President Buhari, Amaechi and others for their contributions in making the project a reality.
Amaechi said approval to begin construction of the Kano-Kaduna rail line has been secured.
According to him, stations along the Lagos-Ibadan rail line were named after notable personalities, and 1,000 houses were demolished in Ogun State in the course of construction.
Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Board, Alhassan Ibrahim, said the event was the first time a rail project would be started and opened by the same administration.
He said Nigerians share a common interest in the infrastructure for their benefit.
The Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria, Ciu Jianchun, and Chairman of CCECC, Nigeria, Jiang Yigao, thanked the government of their country for providing funding for the project, saying the infrastructure would enhance socio-economic development and improve the quality of life of Nigerians.
President Buhari also inaugurated the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency’s (NIMASA) deep blue security project in Apapa.
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