President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the commercial operations of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos, and stressed that his administration will continue to prioritise the railway system.
He described the project as another milestone in the drive of his administration to revitalise the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight.
This was disclosed in a statement signed on Thursday by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
“The President pledged that his administration would continue to prioritise the railway system as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country,” the statement read in part.
On the benefits of the Lagos-Ibadan corridor as well as other on-going railway projects across the country, President Buhari said, ‘‘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.”
He said further that “in clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by 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 President said 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 Niger Republic will be achieved.
‘‘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.’’
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 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.
Shortly after he inaugurated the project, President Buhari took a ride from Ebute Metta Station to Energy Nature Light (ENL), Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos.
He was joined by 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 some government officials.