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FG Plans Standard Rail Link Across State Capitals, Cities, Others


By Ganiyu Nasirudeen

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) The Federal Government (FG) has assured Nigerians that most State capitals; major commercial and production centres will be linked with railway system as a way of bringing about “rapid socio-economic development and improving the quality of life of the Nigerians”, promoting social as well as regional integration.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the assurance Tuesday at the commissioning and flag-off ceremony of Abuja (Idu) – Kaduna standard gauge train service.

The President in his address at the ceremony also reassured Nigerians that due attention would be placed on pursuing the 25-Year Strategic Railway Master Plan which is aimed at rehabilitating the existing 3,505km narrow gauge rail line; developing and constructing new standard gauge rail lines across the country.

Mr. President, who noted that as Nigeria celebrates the symbolic return of rail service, also reiterated the commitment of his administration to pursue with greater vigour and determination, the “rehabilitation and construction of other rail lines including the major Lagos-Calabar and Kano-Lagos lines”.

While expressing hope to flag off many more lines outlined in his administration’s transport policy programme, President Buhari pointed out that the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and his team have put great efforts in the last few months to ensure the successful completion of the project under his Administration.

The “Completion and Commissioning of this project is indeed in keeping with our vision of bringing about the desired change to make life easier for the generality of Nigerians through the development and provision of the necessary social and physical infrastructure” Buhari stressed.

“It is on record that between 1963 and early ‘80s, Nigeria had a vibrant rail system which conveyed agricultural and livestock and solid mineral resources to Lagos and Port Harcourt sea ports from where they are exported to other parts of the world. It is our vision and hope that those good old days will soon be back with us and indeed in a more prosperous way with the restoration of rail transport system which today’s occasion symbolizes.

“The construction of the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge rail track commenced in 2009 and happily, sixteen years after, we are on the threshold of presenting to Nigerians a Standard Gauge Railway Train Service that will be safe, fast and reliable. The Abuja-Kaduna train service will provide the much needed alternative transport link between the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna State, a corridor which has a huge potential for industries, agricultural activities and a growing labour force” Mr. President affirmed.

Historically, the Abuja-Kaduna standard rail gauge was initiated by one of the previous administration; started by the immediate past of former President Goodluck Jonathan and completed the incumbent administration.

Among the top Government functionaries who graced the flag-off were: the Transport Minister, Hon. Amaechi; Senate President Bukola Saraki; House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Chief Justice of the Federation (CJF), Mohammad Mahamud; Senate Committee Chairman on Transportation, Gbenga Ashafa among many others.

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