By MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Federal Government of Nigeria (FRN) and Ogun State Government have set up a committee to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of railway transportation in the country.
Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, disclosed the development after emerging from a meeting he held with Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, at Abeokuta mega train station of the Standard Gauge Railway Modernization infrastructure on Wednesday.
Among issues discussed at the meeting were the slowness of the standard gauge railway train, which Abiodun said is so because of security reasons.
“We observed the issue of security; we believe the tracks are secure, because by the time you have cattle going back and forth, and the time you have people crossing the rail lines” the railway corridor would be insecure, the Ogun State governor said.
Also posing a challenge to the effectiveness and efficiency of the railway development is having access to the stations. Regarding this, the governor declared: “We’ve also observed the need to enhance the access to the stations. The Ministry of Transportation will do their part, we as state government will also complement them because we want this service to succeed.”
He pointed out that the train service will not be transporting passengers only, noting that it will also be carrying goods and containers, among other freight operations, because their are freight stations along the train corridor.
There are freight stations in Abeokuta, Kajola and Agbado – all in Ogun State, the governor highlighted.
He urged manufacturers and other businessmen and women in the state to take advantage of those stations for loading of containers, exportation of goods and receiving their containers that are coming from Apapa seaport to the three stations.
“I want to enjoin our indigenes to begin to patronize these services. We were reliably informed that extra trains, extra wagons will commence operations tomorrow (Thursday 10th June 2021), because we rightly observed that there is only one train that is going back and forth, and the minister has assured us that by tomorrow there will be four trains and there will be increased number of services,” governor Abiodun elaborated.
According to him, the modernization and development of railway “is another opportunity to create a multi-modal transportation facilitation for our indigenes in Ogun State.”
He was delighted that the minister was in the state to inspect the project “in readiness for Mr. President’s commissioning tomorrow.”
Abiodun thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister of transportation for the implementation and coordination of the project.
He said: “It gives me a great joy and delight to join the Honourable Minister at the inspection of the Abeokuta station.
“This is one of the five stations along Lagos-Ibadan rail line that has been paid for and implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari administration. We’re indeed proud to be part of the administration. I’m excited that out of the 10 stations that are along Lagos-Ibadan, Ogun State has five of those stations.
By MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos