By Shorunke Tunde
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has said the $1.6 billion Lagos-Ibadan railway will be ready for commissioning in May this year.
Railway transportation plays a very critical role in the economic development and growth of any Nation. In Nigeria, the railway service had gone into oblivion for decades, only to have a sense of rejuvenation in the last few years.
The federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari, and the sterling leadership of the Minister of Transportation has recorded giant strides in the Railway service development, part of which is the Minister’s announcement of the commencement of the Lagos-Ibadan railway service.
Amaechi who made the announcement during the Good Morning Nigeria show on live TV program on Tuesday, noted that fixing the Railway system will answer to most of Nigeria’s Transportation challenges.
According to him, about 30 million tons of goods get to Kano and Kaduna from Lagos annually and over 90per cent of the goods are transported by Road. With the Railway in place, Transportation of good will not only be faster, our roads will last longer and less congested.
He said, “When we took over from the previous Government, we met the Abuja- Kaduna Railway at 80per cent 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.
“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.”
Aside developments in the Nation’s railway service, the Transportation Minister said there were verifiable improvements in the Maritime sector and that the slow pace of development of Infrastructure in the sector is caused by lack 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,” Amaechi said.
He added that, “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.