By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
The on-going Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway, which is nearing completion, will be commissioned in April 2020.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transportation, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, said this when he led the Joint Committee of the National Assembly (NASS) on Land Transportation to oversee the progress of work at the on-going Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway project on Saturday.
“We’re looking April 2020 for official commissioning of Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail line, and as soon as possible, Ibadan-Kano axis will begin,” Buhari said.
He noted with satisfaction that the three-year duration Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway modernization project contract has been achieved within two years.
“This”, the senator stressed, “is a reflection of good governance and better administration.”
He explained that the railway system modernization was embarked on to serve as an alternative to road transport, pointing out that it will extend the life-span of Nigerian roads.
Buhari cited examples of countries where railway system has become impactful. “Rail system is key in some developed countries like Singapore, America; and people are not bothered about buying cars because it (rail) is faster, cheaper and affordable,” he declared.
According to him, in Lagos, the project was extended from Ebute Metta to Apapa and Tin Can ports.
He disclosed that by this time next year, work would have started on the Eastern zone project from Port Harcourt to Maidugri.
Senator Buhari remarked that the on-going Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail project, Itakpe-Warri rail line and the completed Abuja-Kaduna project have added value to Nigeria’s transport system.
He said the development of a modern rail transport system will boost Nigeria’s economy.
The oversight function was jointly led by Senator Buhari and Honourable Tajudeen Abass, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Land Transportation.
Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, accompanied the legislators on the inspection tour aboard the standard gauge train from Lagos to Abeokuta.