Tuesday, July 26, 2016 10:32 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the federal government would link all states and commercial centres in the country with rail lines.
He stated this today, when he officially flagged off the standard-gauge Abuja-Kaduna rail services. That started the commercialization of the train services after weeks of test run during which passengers and goods were transported free of charge.
It is one of the projects intiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He later took a train ride from Idu to Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello and Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Senator Hadi Sirika were among dignitaries that witnessed the flag-off of commercial operations on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
Here is Buhari’s address at the occasion as published by Premium Times: http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/207556-buhari-hails-chief-amaechi-abuja-railway-completion.html
I am delighted to be here today to commission the Abuja – Kaduna railway track and flag-off the Abuja-Kaduna train services (Passengers and Freight) on Nigeria’s first ever Standard Gauge Rail track to go into operation. This project was conceived by a previous administration, started by the last government and I am pleased to complete and commission it.
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 symbolises.
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.
The Minister of Transportation, Chief Rotimi Amaechi and his team have put great efforts in the last few months to ensure the successful completion of this project under this Administration. 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.
In this regard, I wish to assure Nigerians that most State capitals and 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 and promoting social & regional integration.
Furthermore, I wish to also reassure Nigerians that due attention will be placed on pursuing the 25-Year Strategic Railway Master Plan which is aimed at rehabilitating the existing 3,505km narrow gauge rail line and developing and constructing new standard gauge rail lines across the country.
As we celebrate the symbolic return of rail service today I wish to reiterate the commitment of this Administration to pursue with greater vigour and determination rehabilitation and construction of other rail lines including the major Lagos-Calabar and Kano-Lagos lines.
As we get down to work, I look forward to flagging off many more lines outlined in our transport policy programme.