Abuja-Kaduna rail line flag-off: Buhari approved July 26

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that the states will be linked to the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, with a view to growing socio-economic development.
Besides, the Federal Government would also pursue the implementation of 25-year Strategic Master Plan for the sector, Buhari stated this at the commissioning ceremony of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line main terminal at Idu, Abuja.
According to him “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 Nigerian and promoting social an regional integration.
“Furthermore, I wish to also reassure 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 as well as developing and constructing new standard gauge rail lines across the country,’’ he emphasised.
The President who expressed optimism that the route would gives travellers opportunity to enjoy affordable and safe movement of passengers and cargo between both cities, recalled that “It is on record that between 1963 and early 1980s, 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.’’
Elated Buhari praised the commitment of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his team to towards the successful completion of the project.
On his part, Amaechi went down memory lane saying the contract for the construction of ‘‘this railway was awarded by President Olusegun Obasanjo, partially executed by President Goodluck Jonathan and completed by President Muhammadu Buhari.’’
He pointed out that ‘‘the tracks were inspected and commissioned by President Jonathan but under the directives of President Buhari, the stations, signalling, communication and part of the tracks were completed by this administration.
‘‘The locomotive and coaches arrived in May and between June and July, we have commenced trial runs. We conveyed over 500 passengers per trip, twice a day for a month and two weeks free of charge.’’
The Minister also used the occasion to remind Nigerians that the change agenda of this administration imparts on housing as the poor are able to live in their houses in Kaduna and come to work in Abuja. At the same time, agricultural produce are conveyed from Kaduna to Abuja at a much cheaper rates.
He expressed gratitude to the Chinese Government and the China Exim Bank for their financial support, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun for discharging her responsibility as directed by President Buhari. ‘‘We are also grateful to the contractor CCECC for keeping fate and doing a good job.’’
In his goodwill message, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja and current Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufa’i said train services on the route had effectively made Kaduna a satellite town of FCT.
“For us in Kaduna, this rail system has effectively made Kaduna a satellite town of Abuja because our citizens can live in Kaduna and commute to Abuja to walk, which is a major advantage for the state.
In this vein, El-Rufai said that “Our intention is to create new satellite towns at Jere, Rijana and Rigasa’’ along the Abuja-Kaduna road to ease decongestion in FCT, saying “We are therefore, extremely grateful to the federal government, to you Mr. President and the Minister of Transportation, the entire team including (China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation) CCECC for making this segment of the project a reality.’’
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, described the project as ‘‘a milestone in the history of our great country,’’ adding that the 20 most developed economies in the world today rely on the railway system to move over 70 per cent of goods and service.

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