From Bello Wakili
President Mohammadu Buhari has pledged that his administration will continue to prioritise the railway system as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country.
The President made the pledge while inaugurating the commercial operations of Lagos-Ibadan railway project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos.
He described the Lagos-Ibadan rail line as an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor 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.
The president further revealed that the challenges posed to the country’s economic growth are due to the absence of strong and effective infrastructure in the rail sector.
Other ongoing railway infrastructure projects are the completion of the of the Lagos – Kano rail line which 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, maintaining the connection through rail, would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic while the Ibadan-Kano project would have a connection to the Tin Can Island port as well as the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.
The President recalled that railway infrastructure development has been given the priority it deserves from the beginning of this administration leading to various milestones right from when the Abuja – Kaduna railway was flagged-off for commercial operation in 2016 to the Lagos – Ibadan railway project presently commissioned.
While commending the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for his drive and tenacity in achieving the milestone recorded today, the President pointed out that the project would be beneficial to the economy through the creation of new business opportunities and wealth creation.
Shortly after he inaugurated the project, President Buhari took a ride from Ebute Metta Station to Energy Nature Light (ENL), Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos in company of the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governors of Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun and the Deputy Governor of Ondo, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of State Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, other Ministers as well as government officials.