By Adeola Tukuru
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday said the commissioning of additional locomotives and coaches at Rigasa station and Inland Dry Port at Kakuri, in Kaduna state is not just a statement of his intent but a benchmark for measuring the performance of his administration.
The President also solicited the support of the national assembly, development partners and relevant stakeholders to achieve their aim.
Buhari recalled that he commissioned the Abuja-Kaduna railway service in July 2016, the country’s first ever standard gauge train service ,adding that the service has become very useful for commuters and would soon become the preferred means of transport for travelers from Abuja to Kaduna.
The president restated his administrations’ resolve to vigorously pursue railway development in Nigeria through the implementation of the 25 year strategic railway master plan.
He stated that government would further focus on costal rail like Lagos-Calabar with branches to Benin, Agbor and Onitsha including Port Harcourt to Maiduguri standard guage rail line with branches to Owerri, Akwa, Abakaliki, Yola and Damaturu.
He also assured that his government would also focus on Kano-Kazure, Daura, Kastina, Jibiya to link Maradi in Niger Republic as part of regional railway inter-connectivity of the ECOWAS sub-region.
The President said that he has approved the procurement of additional locomotives, coaches, wagons, workshops and equipment that would be used for standard guage lines.
Buhari said “We are looking forward to a more efficient railway service on the narrow guage line to be driven by the private sector adding government is creating a condusive environment participation by strengthening the legal and regulatory framework
He reiterated government’s commitment to linking all major commercial and production centers by rail for rapid social economic development and improving the quality of life of the citizens and improving the national integration.
Earlier, the minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi , assured disclosed that the government is currently negotiating with contractors that will fund the project.
According to him,” If we are able to complete the arrangements again taking into consideration the Nigeria law, we will start many of the projects this year.”
“We need between $36 billion to $40 billion. Only God knows where we are going to get it. But I like apply what I did as Rivers State governor”.
“It gives me a new lease of life because after all we did in Rivers, one young man woke up and said we did not do anything.
“This gives me another opportunity to prove that you have worked for the people and that you are compelled by the circumstances of the fact that Nigerians and the president thought that we could deliver in the mandate given to the president which was transferred to me as the minister,” he said.
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