By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s Acting President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, has flagged off the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, which he said would be completed before the end of 2018.
Mr Osinbajo also disclosed that the standard gauge railway line would provide about 500,000 jobs.
Explaining why the project was embarked on, the Acting President said it was to ease traffic gridlock in the area and help in the easy transportation of goods and persons.
Mr Osinbajo described the rail line project as one very close to President Muhammadu Buhari’s heart, adding that it was part of the projects renegotiated by him with China in 2016, when he visited the Asia country.
“If there is a project close to the heart of the president, it is this rail project he personally promised the people of this nation,” the Acting President said.
Speaking further, he said, “Our appreciation goes to the Chinese government, who have always proven to be reliable partners with Nigeria.
“As some may be aware, we have the entire Lagos-Kano standard gauge track, as well as the Lagos-Calabar railway track in the 2017 budget.”
The Acting President pointed out that the Lagos-Ibadan rail line was just one segment of the Lagos-Kano railway project, which is an integral part of the national rail project.
“Negotiations of the Kaduna-Kano portion of the track is now completed and this phase is next in line. We have already provided our portion of funding for the Lagos-Calabar route as well.
“We expect that negotiations for the foreign component of the funding will be finalised in the next few months. The Lagos-Calabar rail will come on stream.
“An active and vibrant railway system confers many benefits on society, and our ultimate goal is to restore the railway using culture for both commercial and personal travels.
“The national railway project will create up to half a million jobs, and facilitate the movement of over 3.2 tonnes of cargo per annum,” he said at the ceremony held in Lagos.
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