.Buhari

.As Lagos signs MoU for 2nd phase

.Unveils JRandle Centre

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, officially, commissioned the first phase of the Lagos Blue Line Rail system from the Marina-Mile-2 axis of the state

Buhari, who had earlier unveiled the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, Onian, in Lagos, was accompanied by his host, Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu. The centre is a project that fits into urban regeneration project at the heart of Lagos Island.

Dignitaries at the event included: lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, members of the state executive council, members of the state house of assembly, traditional rulers, siuch as; Oniru of Iruland Oba Gbolahan Lawal, Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRosheed Akanbi; lawmakers, former Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, Hakeem Odumosu, former Lagos APC Chair Babatunde Balogun, among others.

The Blue Line is one of the six metro lines identified in the Lagos Rail Mass Transit, LRMT, master plan as contained in the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan, STMP.

The Blue Line is a 27-Kilometre Raul route that will run from Marina to Okokomaiko when completed.

The blue line phase one is 13 kilometre stretch from Marina to Mile-2. The phase 1 corridor services five stations: The Marina iconic station, National Theatre, Igamu, Alana and Orile.

Recall that Sanwo-Olu, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa and some others had earlier took a test run of the train last December.

Meanwhile, Buhari, who only acknowledged greetings from the cguests without delivering a speech, also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the second phase which will run from Mile-2 to Okokomaiko.

It will run from Marina to Okokomaiko. Others in the STMP are the Red Line (Agbado-Oyingbo/Marina); Green line (Marina to Epe); Orange Line (Redeemed Camp-Marina); Purple line (Redeemed Camp-Ojo); Orange Line and Yellow Line (Sango Ota-Iddo).

The iconic Marina station, being the largest train hub in Africa, is 240 metres long, and equipped with two concourses of 12 turnstiles each with a processing capacity of 480 passengers per minute and over 24,000 per hour. Travel time on the Marina – Mile 2 route is about 15 minutes. It will be powered by high voltage electricity (750VA).

Sanwo-Olu, in his address, thanked President Buhari ‘for honouring his administration with a two-day official visit to Lagos State.

According to the governor, “The state has enjoyed great support since Buhari became president. President, we are very proud to be associated with your bold national vision for infrastructural transformation.

“We would also like to pay special tribute to the architect of Modern Lagos, who is also the presidential

candidate of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and by the

special grace of God, a most worthy successor to you, Mr. President – our Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom.”

“This Blue Line we are opening a today is the product of his timeless vision for Lagos State, a vision that dates back almost 25 years, when he took over the reins of leadership in Lagos State.

“One of his greatest legacies was developing a comprehensive road map for the future of Lagos State; one that laid out very clearly the pathway to a modern, prosperous, and globally competitive megacity.

“The Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) envisioned six metro lines, of which the 27km Blue Line, running from Marina to Okokomaiko, is first.

“President, this Line is 13km long, and the first Phase of a 27km line. This Phase 1 runs from Marina to Mile 2, across five stations of Marina, National Theatre, Iganmu, Alaba, and Orile, and is expected to cover the distance in less than 15 minutes, compared with the rush-hour time of 2.5 hours if undertaken by road.

“The benefits are obvious, and unquantifiable – a more efficient transport service that improves the quality of life of Lagosians, frees up more of their time, reduces the pressure on the roads, and contributes to Nigeria’s lofty climate action obligations.

“This Blue Line rail system will be powered end-to-end by high voltage electricity, to be supplied by a dedicated IPP, as well as back-up systems. What this means is that the operation of this Line will leave zero carbon emission impact on the environment.

“This iconic Marina Station that is hosting us today will be the largest and busiest train hub in Africa, with a capacity to process as many as 400 passengers per minute, translating into 24,000 passengers every hour.

“When Phase 1 starts running fully, we envisage that it will transport a quarter of a million Lagosians daily, rising to half a million daily when the entire corridor is completed.”

Sanwo-Olu, also promised that the Red Line will be ready and opened before end of July.

Earlier, Hamzat, gave an overview of the project before the president and governor as well as few dignitaries took a tour of the rail to Mile-2.

According to him, “Coincidentally, Marina, where we are making history today, is central to our integrated multimodal transport system, being a melting pot for all the transportation modes.

“The excitement, no doubt, is justifiable, considering the fact that this project will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear state on the same pedestal as others of its stature. The people come first in all that we do. They are the bedrock of our government. This project is, therefore, all about them. And that is what governance is all about.”

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, CUI Jianchun, who hailed the government for the initiative, noted that “the project is a proof of three things, Lagos as a great city, time is money, and Lagos understands the essence and importance of time since the train will reduce travel time considerably.”

The ambassador promised that his country would continue to uphold the harmony in diversity, integration and development which characterises the relationship between Nigeria and China.

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