Thursday, June 10, 2021

Buhari commends Amaechi over Lagos-Ibadan Rail network completion, flags-off Deep Blue Sea Project , says more infrastructural Dev. Yet to unfold

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…Tin Can Island port, West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo to commence soon

By Emmanuel Daudu, Lagos

The President, Federal Republic Of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari has applauded the honourable minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi over the successful completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Rail network and the Deep Blue Sea project flag off.

“I commend the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi for his drive and tenacity to achieve the milestone recorded today”.

His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic Of Nigeria at the Flag Off Ceremony Of Lagos – Ibadan Railway, Deep Blue Sea Project Commissioning both In Lagos today June 10, 2021 made the statement.

An efficient transport system, especially railway transport, plays a significant role in any economy through the movement of people and goods from one destination to the other safely. In essence, an effective and efficient transport system aids commerce and helps economic activities of any country. Rail transport therefore plays a significant role in commerce and economic activities of the Nigerian economy due to its ability to haul large volumes of cargo and carry large numbers of passengers at a very low cost. Nigeria is endowed with a total land mass of 351,649 sq. miles (910,771 sq. km) with a total population of about 170 million (Sanusi, 2014). The movement of people and goods is currently done inefficiently through road transportation, but in contrast, efficient rail transport provides an efficient distribution
that is both cost effective and assists in achieving Nigeria’s
economic development initiatives.

This, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has noticed and keyed in, to efficiently have an effective railway system accross the nation.

However, the President, while speaking at the flag off ceremony for Commercial Operations of Lagos – Ibadan railway project at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos also stated that the Tin Can Island port, West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo to commence soon.

President Muhammadu Buhari further stated that the completion and commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan rail network, and the Deep Blue Sea project commissioning signals yet another milestone in the drive of his Administration to revitalize the railway system, establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight and position it as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in the country.
“This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port Quayside straight to the Inland Container Depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country.

“In clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by absence of strong and effective infrastructure, we have in the rail sector, further to other ongoing railway infrastructure projects, embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway, which is Ibadan – Kano. The Lagos – Kano railway project when completed will link the Kano – Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in Niger Republic will be achieved.
The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance have been directed to vigorously act on engagement and reaching financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan – Kano railway and the connection to the Tin Can Island port as well as the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.
This is already yielding the desired result as construction activities on the railway segment, Kaduna – Kano has commenced with back-end engineering activities.Distinguished guests, from the beginning of this administration, railway infrastructure development has been given the priority it deserves and various milestones have been reached, right from when the Abuja – Kaduna railway was flagged-off for commercial operation in 2016 to this Lagos – Ibadan railway project being commissioned today for full commercial operation.

Efficient railway transport enhances the economic development of any country, in terms of the movement of people and goods from one destination to another. Nigeria is an oil producing country, yet the supply chain of the petroleum product distribution is poor, inefficient, and abysmal let alone effective. The distribution of petroleum products is done through the road haulage system which equally drives up the distribution cost as well as an increase in the pump price. Inefficient product distribution results in delays in the petroleum products reaching the filling stations quicker which sometimes lead to product shortages and results in fuel scarcity and fuel queues at filling stations. Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) was therefore established by the Act of 1955 (amended by 1990 Act) for the sole aim of moving of passengers and haulage of freight and given the monopoly power and exclusive right for this purpose. Although development and construction of the railway track started as far back as 1898 and over years, numerous amounts of money invested on the rail system in Nigeria have also seen little impact. NRC is currently saddled with the problem of dwindling revenue; operational costs are increasing, as is the mounting debt. There is demand for the services that is currently not satisfied, but due to limited operational capacity, the yearnings of the teaming population for efficient transport system are still not fulfilled let alone effective

“This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port Quayside straight to the Inland Container Depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country.

“In clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by absence of strong and effective infrastructure, we have in the rail sector, further to other ongoing railway infrastructure projects, embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway, which is Ibadan – Kano. The Lagos – Kano railway project when completed will link the Kano – Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in Niger Republic will be achieved.
The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance have been directed to vigorously act on engagement and reaching financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan – Kano railway and the connection to the Tin Can Island port as well as the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.
This is already yielding the desired result as construction activities on the railway segment, Kaduna – Kano has commenced with back-end engineering activities. At the beginning of this administration, railway infrastructure development has been given the priority it deserves and various milestones have been reached, right from when the Abuja – Kaduna railway was flagged-off for commercial operation in 2016 to this Lagos – Ibadan railway project being commissioned today for full commercial operation”.

The President, while speaking at the Official Flag-off of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure In Nigeria (Deep Blue Project)at Apapa Sea Port, Lagos state explained that the

project has been initiated to bolster the maritime security architecture and ensure greater enforcement action within Nigerian waters and beyond.

“This assemblage of new maritime security assets is coming at a critical time when global discussions are centered on piracy activities and the new dimension it has taken in the Gulf of Guinea region.

“With the world’s waters accounting for over 80% of transportation requirements of the global economy, concerted efforts and innovative actions are required to address attendant security challenges.

“Therefore, the flag-off of the DEEP BLUE Project marks an important milestone in this regard and in our collective effort to tackle security challenges in the form of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. It is also a demonstration of government’s strong commitment to ensuring security.

“This intervention, no doubt, will facilitate a conducive environment for the maritime sector to thrive and contribute to the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

“This Flag-off is an important step in the continuing shift in strategic action about regional maritime security. It will serve as a benchmark for member states in the Gulf of Guinea and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the subsisting framework to improve maritime security in the region.

“I commend the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General NIMASA, Members of the Steering Committee and the Project Management Team and all other government stakeholders who have worked together to bring this initiative of the administration to fruition.

“As we begin the operationalization phase of the project, I wish to assure you of government’s commitment to ensure its sustainability and invites all critical stakeholders to work collectively in this direction for the greater benefit of all Nigerians, member states of the Gulf of Guinea and the global maritime community”, he added.

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