President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the 157-kilometre double-track Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.
In a statement by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, President Buhari expressed delight that the project, described as the biggest double-standard trail track in West Africa, was inaugurated during his administration.
According to the president, the inauguration of the project signals his administration’s commitment to make the railway the backbone of transportation in the country.
He explained that the rail line was established to reduce traffic on the heavily congested Lagos–Ibadan highway.
He pledged that his administration will prioritise the railway system as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country.
“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,” the statement quoted President Buhari as saying.
“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 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.”
President Buhari 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 and 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.
“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,’’ Mr Buhari said.
While commending 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.