The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would complete the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano rail project and the Port Harcourt-Calabar wing of Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project before the end of 2018.
It also revealed that a bill seeking to establish the National Transport Commission had scaled through the second reading in the National Assembly, noting that the bill would soon be ready.
The Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, said this at the first Lagos Traffic Radio lecture series held at the LTV complex, Agidingbi, noting that the mission of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration “is to establish a safe, efficient, affordable and seamless intermodal transport system.”
The lecture, which was organised under a theme, ‘Migrating Workforce: the Challenges of Mass Transportation,’ also featured the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Ekundayo Mobereola, Corp Marshal of Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Oyeyemi Boboye and former Commissioner for Transportation in the state, Prof. Bamidele Badejo, among others.
At the lecture, the minister disclosed that the federal government was working “to complete the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano railway in two and half years. In another two and half years, we will try and complete the Port Harcourt-Calabar segment of the Lagos-Calabar rail project.”
By the time rail projects are completed, the minister explained that it would largely help those who could not afford the rent in Lagos “to live in Ibadan. Already, due to the Kaduna-Abuja railway, workers in Abuja have begun to relocate to other northern states and resume to Abuja daily to do their business.”
Amaechi also spoke on different transport-related bills that the federal government had sent to the National Assembly, citing the National Transport Commission bill and the Nigeria Railway Corporation bill.
The minister emphasised the significance of railway to the national economy, noting that the best form of mass movement “is through rail. The Kaduna-Abuja rail line will move 380 persons in one hour. We believe in the multi-modal system of transportation.”
He lamented the menace of passengers hanging on the rail, disclosing that he had directed the authorities of the Nigerian Railway Corpration “to enforce the regulation that prohibits hanging on the moving trains.
“When passengers hanging on the moving trains die, no one will question the passengers. Rather, they will complain that the government was not proactive in protecting the lives of its citizens,” the minister said.
He explained the reason Lagos often experiences gridlocks was due “to the lack of roads. How many times do you see traffic in Abuja? The reason was that it had the network of road. There is need for the construction of more connecting bridges across the state.”
He also pointed out the plan of the federal government “to establish a National Shipping Line. It will be funded by the private sector. It will also be managed by the private sector. We are also planning the concessioning of Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Enugu airports.”