President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, reassured Nigerians of his administration’s commitment of linking all major commercial and production centers as well as state capitals with a world-class standard railway system.
Buhari, who accompanied by Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Minister of transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, among other top government functionaries, said the expansion of rail system would bring about rapid socio-economic development, improve the lives of Nigerians just as it will also encourage national integration.
Speaking during the commissioning of new locomotives coaches, at Rigasa Railway terminal, Kaduna, Buhari resolved to rigorously pursue development across the country through the implementation of the 25 year strategic railway master plan.
The President, explained that the procurement of more locomotives, coaches, workshops and equipment that will be used for new standard gauge lines has been already approved, urging private sector participation in the railway development.
Buhari said: “Let me recall that, I commissioned and flagged off the Abuja-Kaduna train service in July last year, which was Nigeria’s first ever outstanding train service. I am glad that this service has become very useful to commuters and has even become the preferred form of transport for the commuters for journey between Abuja and Kaduna.
Additional critical project which are in particularly to start include the rail line in Lagos to Calabar, which branch us to Benin, Agbor and Onitsha, Port Harcout to Maiduguri standard guage rail line will branch us to Owerri, Awka, Abakaliki, Yola and Damaturu and Kano to Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiya to link with Maradi in Niger republic as part of regional railway interconnectivity.”
Negotiations for concession of the narrow gauge railways with a consortium is in progress. we are looking forward to a more efficient train service on the narrow gauge lines to be driven by the private sector. It is on the basis of this, that we are creating a more conducive environment for private sector, especially by strengthening our legal and regular trade frameworks.”
This is not only a statement of intentions, but a benchmark which we are using to measure the performance of our administration. Our resolve to develop our Railway system to a world-class standard remains.
To achieve this, I am using this opportunity to solicit for support of all relevant stakeholders and especially the National Assembly and our development partners in realizing these objectives.” he said.
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