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Lagos-Ibadan rail will be ready in June, says Amaechi


Lagos-Ibadan railway. Photo/Twitter/ovieali<br />

Determined to deliver on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has assured that by early June this year, the rail transport system would have been perfectly made ready for use.

The Lagos-Abeokuta rail had been completed earlier in the year and passengers were offered three-month free ride. The period of free ride was, however, later shortened.

Amaechi, who spoke to some journalists over the weekend, noted that his commitment to the full take-off of rail transportation in Nigeria was aimed at making life easier and better for Nigerians.

The minister undertakes rail inspection trips sometimes twice a month. The Lagos-Ibadan rail project is being executed at the cost of $1.6 billion, which is being funded from the loan from the Chinese government.

He explained that the hitherto abandoned Itakpe-Wari rail line, which was abandoned 34 years ago, has been completed and has commenced operation. He said the rail line would, for a start, be carrying 100 passengers per trip, until more coaches were purchased.

Amaechi added that, “it is one rail project that we did not borrow a dime to complete”, adding that it was revived and completed at the cost of $200 million.

According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari was and is still enthusiastic in driving the rail project in Nigeria as a way of improving the nation’s economy.”

He explained further: “With the coming of the rail, there is bound to be improved economy for those around the rail stations as there will be food vendors, shop operators at the train stations, motor parks to offer connecting road transport service for train passengers, as well as opening up several other business corridors in the Nigerian economy.”

He cited the example of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, which presently has employed about 10,000 workers, pointing out that they had to be fed and taken care of by food vendors and the like.

Amaechi further noted that the cost of land and other properties on the rail corridor had all gone up, as many people were scrambling to buy lands and properties in such places in anticipation of the economies that would be built within those areas.

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