The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, virtually inaugurated the 326 Km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation and directed the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that all the nation’s ports are linked to the rail line.
He listed the ports of origin and destination to be linked to the rail network to include Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, and Calabar Ports.
The presidential aide also quoted the President as saying that he had approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes in the country.
He also directed that the Itakpe-Warri rail line should be extended to the northern region of the country before the expiration of his tenure in 2023.
The President said, “Accordingly, I have approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes for either new rail lines or the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some, to achieve effective and efficient train services supporting the country’s trade and commerce.
“The railway Infrastructure that I have the honour to commission today is the rail line from Itakpe via the steel town complex of Ajaokuta to Warri, and is an important link for the country’s economy as the central rail line.
This government has also approved to link this line further from Itakpe to Abuja, thereby, connecting the Northern Zone of the country and also extending southwards to link the Warri Ports.”
”The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled “After 30 years in limbo, President Buhari inaugurated 326Km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation.”
“At the virtual opening of the rail line linking Itakpe to Warri, President Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports of origin and destination – Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, Calabar Ports- to the rail network in order to significantly improve overall transportation and economic capacities.
“The President declared that his administration recognised the importance of the railway mode of transportation as a vital backbone to support industrialisation and economic development,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the President expressed confidence that the project, which serves as a vital link of South-South geopolitical zones of the country to the Northern zones, would be completed during the tenure of this administration.
”It will link people across the cultural divides and expand the frontier of trade and commerce, which will lead to better standards of living for our citizens,” he said.
Buhari enjoined all Nigerians in the transportation industry, especially the railway sub-sector, to continue to support government in its stride to achieve other railway infrastructure projects.
Source: Punch 29th September 2020