President Muhammadu Buhari has said the newly commissioned $1.5 billion Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project would create wealth and business opportunities for Nigerians.
The President stated this yesterday while inaugurating the Lagos-Ibadan rail line. According to him, the choice of rail as a means of transportation for passengers and freight is another milestone achieved.
He said the rail line was in place to reduce traffic on the heavily congested Lagos–Ibadan highway, just as he pledged to prioritise the railway system as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country.
Buhari who spoke on the benefits of the Lagos-Ibadan rail and other on-going railway projects said 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.
According to him: “From the beginning of this administration, railway infrastructure development has been given the priority it deserves and various milestones have been reached.”Right from when the Abuja-Kaduna railway was flagged off for commercial operation in 2016 to this Lagos-Ibadan railway project being commissioned today for full commercial operation.
“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.
“In clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by the 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 the Niger Republic will be achieved.”The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for the import and export business of the people of the landlocked Niger Republic.
“This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.”
Similarly, Buhari added that the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the Deep Blue Sea maritime security project, which was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transport, will guarantee maritime trade and checkmate activities of pirates in the nation’s coastal and territorial waters.
Shortly after the inauguration, President Buhari took a ride from Ebute Metta Station to Energy Nature Light, ENL, Terminal, Apapa Port, in Lagos.