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Rail network to make Nigeria’s ports destination points for import, export — Buhari



Rail network to make Nigeria’s ports destination points for import, export — Buhari

By Aisha Cole / Lucy Ogalue

President Muhammadu Buhari said the new rail network initiative would make Nigerian ports the choice for import and export business, especially for the landlocked Republic of Niger.

Buhari made the claim at the flag of the Lagos – Ibadan Rail Line Project Commercial Operation Project held Thursday at Mobolaji Johnson Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos.

He said the inauguration of the standard gauge railway would benefit the economy through the employment of new business opportunities and wealth creation.

Buhari said the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance had been tasked with vigorously seeking financial arrangements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the federal government for the development of the Ibadan – Kano railway.

He said the rail would connect the port of Tin Can Island as well as the west-east coastline from Lagos to Calabar connecting Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.

“This is already giving the desired result as the construction activities on the railway segment, Kaduna – Kano started with back-end engineering activities.

“Distinguished guests, from the beginning of this administration, the development of the railway infrastructure has been given the priority it deserves and various stages have been taken, from the moment the Abuja – Kaduna railway was put into commercial service. in 2016.

“This Lagos – Ibadan railway project is commissioned today for full commercial operation.

“I am happy to address you again today and chair the launching ceremony of the Lagos – Ibadan Commercial Operations Rail Project at Mobolaji Johnson Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos,” said Buhari.

According to him, the vital line had established an end-to-end logistics supply chain in rail transport in its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan.

Buhari said goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the quayside at Apapa port directly to the inland container depot in Ibadan from where it could be distributed to other parts of the country.

He said that in recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by the lack of strong and efficient infrastructure, the government had committed to the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway line, which was Ibadan – Kano.

He said that the Lagos – Kano railway project, when completed, will link the Kano – Maradi line to Kano and that a rail link from the southern ports of Nigeria from Lagos to Maradi in the Republic of Niger will be made.

Buhari congratulated the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and the management of Railway Corporation for their drive and tenacity in reaching the milestone recorded today.

Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said it was the third time that President Muhammadu Buhari had brought a standard gauge railway into service.

“Why do I want the president to be present to show Nigeria that the project started and ended with our administration.”

“I even lost my car when I entered the bushes to complete the project.

“I sincerely appreciated the government of the states of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo. We also appreciated Governor Amosu who allowed us to demolish a thousand houses.

“We appreciate the head of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajumobi, and the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Minister of Information , Alhaji Lai Muhammed, former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, etc.

“I would like to appreciate all the staff of the railroads, journalists, CCECC, security agencies among others.

In his welcome speech, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Alhaji Ibrahim Alhassan, said elected officials supported the success of the standard gauge railway.

Alhassan commended the efforts of federal and state governments and some agencies for their support in carrying out the project.

The President of the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Mr. Jiang Yigao, commended Nigeria and other government officials for their support to enable them to deliver on time.

He said the standard gauge railway would increase development in Nigeria and help improve the social and economic development of the country.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, Cui Jianchun, congratulated the Nigerian government, saying that the inauguration of the project had further strengthened relations between the two nations.

“I am very happy to join everyone in celebrating this event. For every nation, development is the key. This project with the support of China will improve the development of this country.

“The ceremony is not for the transport of people and goods, but also for the railroad to improve the lives of Nigerians.

“I salute the efforts of the Honorable Rotimi Amaechi without him, we could not stay here this morning.

“We continue to work together for sincerity to enable Nigeria to overcome national and international challenges,” Jianchun said.

Lagos State Governor Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the enormous infrastructure development underway in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu said it was better for the federal and state governments to work together to achieve the development of the country.

“Today we can see that the collective infrastructure and support has not been in vain as three Lagos Ogun and Oyo states have benefited from this project.

“Ogun State has a standard gauge cargo station in Kajola while Oyo State has an inland dry port.

“We have a revolutionary project taking place in Lagos, we are also building the foundations that the federal government had laid for us.

“We are building six-standard blue and red rails with support from the federal government through the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) General Manager Mr. Fidet Okhiria said that after the flag, operations will begin and the company will increase the number of trains to four and also start freight operations from the ports of Lagos.

“We’re starting Monday with four trains, two up, two down, and in six months we’ll be running eight trains, four up, four down.

“With freight exploitation, we will be moving cargo out of ports via standard and narrow gauge, which will go a long way in relieving congestion at the port. (NAAN).


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