Sanwo-Olu celebrates completion of first phase Lagos Blue Rail
Almost two decades after the project started, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, celebrated completion of infrastructure work on the first phase of the Lagos Blue Rail Mass Transit (LRMT).
At exactly 1:31p.m., the governor formally stepped into the coach and took the first trip aboard the electric-powered rail infrastructure.
The governor led his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, members of the state cabinet, reporters and members of the public on a ride from the National Theatre Station to the iconic station in Marina. The trip took approximately 10 minutes.
Sanwo-Olu said the milestone in development of LRMT is the culmination of several impactful reforms in the transport ecosystem of Lagos State, starting in 1999, the dawn of the Fourth Republic, when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office as the democratically elected governor of Lagos State.
He said completion of the first phase is a strong testimony of the government’s commitment to building on the legacies of past administrations and the pioneering vision of Tinubu.
The governor described the moment as “historic”, saying Lagos became the first sub-national government in Africa to fund and deliver a rail system from the state’s balance sheet.
He said construction of the second phase of the Blue Line rail project, which covers 14-kilometres from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko, will be launched immediately after completion and inauguration of the first phase in January.
He noted: “The Tinubu administration developed the Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), which laid out the foundation for a network of robust and modern transport infrastructure befitting the 21st century city. The master plan has six rail lines and one monorail, 14 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, over 20 water routes and a number of major new roads. Central to the implementation of the transport master plan is Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) established in 2002.
“Over the last two decades, that master plan has been faithfully implemented by successive administrations. Today, we are making history with the completion of historic rail line, which is the first phase of the Blue Line.
“The road to the completion of this project, no doubt, has had an interesting story of delays, which were not due to a lack of enthusiasm or commitment on the part of the state government. “Now, we have put the challenges behind us; from now on, we will focus on the benefits of this project for our people.”
In his goodwill message, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, noted that the launch of the completion of infrastructure for the first phase is a confirmation of Sanwo-Olu’s expounded vision for public transportation.
He said: “Mr. Governor, I want to say thank you for sticking to your promise to Lagosians that the infrastructure for the first phase of the Lagos Rail mass Transit Blue Line rail (Marina – Mile 2) would be completed in the last quarter of this year. Lagosians now trust you that you are a man of integrity, and that is why they have asked you to continue the good job in 2023 and beyond.”
Welcoming guests to the event, the Managing Director, LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the rail system would provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the youths, as well as training to equip them to work in the rail industry.
She said: “In our projection, we reckon that this phase of the rail project would move no less than 250,000 passengers daily, while the entire line when completed would move more than 500,000 passengers.”
This, she said, will translate to a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emission. Besides, this rail system is powered by electricity, which again shows our sensitivity to protecting our environment and the future of our state.
She said: “To bring the Blue Line, a 27-kilometre rail route from Marina to Okokomaiko, to its present stage, our dear Mr. Governor had to use a window of funding by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which pooled three banks – Access Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc – together to fund the completion of infrastructure for the first phase, which is about 13-kilometre of the 27-kilometre stretch.”
Chairman, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Limited, Zhang Zichen, said 13 years have passed since the Blue Line project began.
“Over the past years, we overcame various challenges, such as funding shortages, hike in material prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as a responsible and reputable international contractor, which has been working diligently in Nigeria for 41 years, we firmly believe the incoming successful operation of the Blue Line Project will definitely write a new chapter for transportation in Lagos.
“And CCECC always stands ready to deliver the project with high standards and quality, and is willing to participate in more public infrastructure construction in Lagos state.”