Buhari commissions Lagos-Ibadan Railway

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President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the commercial operations of the 157km double track Lagos-Ibadan Railway project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos.

Buhari described the feat ‘‘as another milestone in the drive of this administration to revitalize the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight.’’

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, he pointed out the benefits of the Lagos-Ibadan corridor as well as other ongoing railway projects across the country. He pledged to ensure that the railway system is prioritized by his regime as a transport backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country.

He was quoted as saying, ‘‘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.

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‘‘The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.

‘‘This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.’’

Adesina said the President expressed delight that his directive to the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance on reaching financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan – Kano railway was yielding results.

He noted that 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.

‘‘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,’’ he said.

According to Adesina, “Commending the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for his drive and tenacity in achieving the milestone recorded today, the President praised the ‘‘wonderful team in the Ministry’’ for a job well done.

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“Shortly after he inaugurated the project, President Buhari took a ride from Ebute Metta Station to Energy Nature Light (ENL), Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos”.

The occasion was witnessed by a galaxy of very eminent personalities -they include Ministers of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, his Youths and Sport Development colleague, Sunday Dare, Minister of State for Transportation Gbemisola Saraki, and Ithe Speaker, House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila.

Others are the Chairman of Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State Dr Kayode Fayemi, his colleagues from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Seyi Makinde and Dapo Abiodun.

Royal fathers led by the representatives of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Lake of Egbaland, Oba Gbadebo were also in attendance.

Also in attendance were top government functionaries and eminent personalities among them Africa’s first Nobel Laureate Prof Woke Soyinka, captains of industries and members of the civil society.