After the Chinese contractors failed to deliver the project in 2020 as scheduled due to COVID-19, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
Describing the project as another milestone of his administration, Buhari said it was its agenda and drive to revitalize the rail system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight in the country.
Buhari spoke at the inauguration of the project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Meta, Lagos.
He said the Ibadan-Kano project would be linked to the TinCan Island port in Lagos and the West-East Coastal railline from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.
He said the project would further boost the economy through massive employment.
“It will provide new business opportunities and wealth creation and add value to the Lagos-Ibadan corridor as well as other ongoing railway projects across the country.”
The president promised that his administration would continue to prioritize the rail system as a transportation backbone to transform industrial and economic activities 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.
‘‘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 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.’
‘‘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,’’ Buhari said.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, also described the project as a milestone and revolution in the transport sector.
Persecondnews reports that the President took a ride from Ebute Meta Station to Energy Nature Light (ENL), Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos, accompanied by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governors of Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun and the Deputy Governor of Ondo.