By Dirisu Yakubu
In compliance with its pledge to boost economic activities in the country, the federal government, Tuesday said the Lagos-Ibadan railway line will be ready for commissioning in April, 2020.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi while appearing as a guest on Good Morning Nigeria, a current affair programme of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
Amaechi who underscored the importance of rail transportation to the economic revival of the nation noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was laying a solid infrastructural foundation capable of redefining capital projects implementation since the country’s return to democratic governance in 1999.
In his words, 30 million tons of goods get to Kano and Kaduna from Lagos annually, with over 90 per cent of these goods transported by road, adding that with railway back on stream, the roads would be less congested, thus minimizing cost of maintenance for both federal and state governments.
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He said, “We have put the President on notice that we are ready to commission the Lagos- Ibadan railway by April. Probably, since we have democracy day in May, he may wish to commission it in May.
“When we took over from the previous government, we met the Abuja- Kaduna Railway at 80% completion, but nearly abandoned. We had to address the issues, complete the project and commission it for usage within one year. We then commenced the construction of the Lagos – Ibadan railway and the Itakpe- Warri railway. If you go to Agbor yard, you will see the huge investment in the yard.
He also spoke on the noticeable improvements in the maritime sector under the watch of the present administration even as he blamed to slow pace of development of infrastructure on paucity of funds.
“If you want to govern Nigeria, you need to impose orderliness; you need to put in place law and order. And all that has been successfully done in the maritime sector.
“The next thing is infrastructure, which is a bit slow because we don’t have all the funds. We have the Port Harcourt Seaport, the Onne Seaport and even the Tincan,” he said.
The Minister further urged Nigerians to understand that unlike the past, money has been a major challenge to government in the past few years. “Nigerians should understand that we don’t have the kind of money we had in the 70s and 80s. The President is putting all efforts to get us the funds,” he added.