Buhari flags off Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway, assures linking major cities


By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday gave assurance that all major capital cities in the country would be linked by railway soon.
Buhari spoke at the flag  off of the newly constructed
Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway line.
After performing the flag off ceremony which signaled the official commencement of train services (Passengers & Freight) on Nigeria’s first standard gauge rail line at the  Idu main terminal in Abuja, he took  a 20-minute ride on it to Kubwa station also in the city.
President Buhari expressed delight at the flag-off, recalling that the project was conceived “by a previous administration, started by the last government and I am pleased to complete and commission it.”
Buhari also observed that between 1963 and early ‘80s, Nigeria had a vibrant rail system which conveyed agricultural and livestock and solid mineral resources to Lagos and Port Harcourt sea ports from where they were exported to other parts of the world.
He noted that it was his administration’s vision and hoped that “those good old days will soon be back with us and indeed in a more prosperous way with the restoration of rail transport system which today’s occasion symbolizes.”
According to him, the construction of the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge rail track commenced in 2009 and “happily, we are on the threshold of presenting to Nigerians a Standard Gauge Railway Train Service that will be safe, fast and reliable.”
He also noted that the Abuja-Kaduna train service would provide the much needed alternative transport link between the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna State, a corridor which he observed, had a huge potential for industries, agricultural activities and a growing labour force.
Buhari praised the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his team for “putting great efforts” in the last few months to ensure the successful completion of the project under the present administration.
He said: “Completion and Commissioning of this project is indeed in keeping with our vision of bringing about the desired change to make life easier for the generality of Nigerians through the development and provision of the necessary social and physical infrastructure.
“In this regard, I wish to assure Nigerians that most State capitals and major commercial and production centres will be linked with railway system as a way of bringing about rapid socio-economic development and improving the quality of life of the Nigerians and promoting social & regional integration.
“Furthermore, I wish to also reassure Nigerians that due attention will be placed on pursuing the 25-Year Strategic Railway Master Plan which is aimed at rehabilitating the existing 3,505km narrow gauge rail line and developing and constructing new standard gauge rail lines across the country.
“As we celebrate the symbolic return of rail service today I wish to reiterate the commitment of this Administration to pursue with greater vigour and determination rehabilitation and construction of other rail lines including the major Lagos-Calabar and Kano-Lagos lines.”
In his welcome remark, Amaechi explained that the contract for the project was conceived by the Olusegun Obasanjo while the Goodluck Jonathan administration laid the tracks before the present administration provided the communication, lighting equipment, among others before commissioning it.
He noted that the implementation of the project will impact on housing as people can live in Kaduna and come to work in Abuja using the train.


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