FG to deliver Lagos-Ibadan rail line in 30 months

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Nigerian government is to deliver the Lagos-Ibadan rail line within two and half years.

Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi gave this hint while speaking at a traffic summit at the instance of Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1; with the theme- “Migrating Workforce: The Challenges of Mass Transportation.”

Mr Amaechi who was optimistic that the project would not exceed 30 months said after the Lagos-Ibadan rail line had been completed, the next phase would be to extend the line to Kano.

According to the Transport Minister, “we will also try and complete Port-Harcourt to Calabar rail, when we do that it will greatly improve our movement from one place to another; people can live in Ibadan and work in Lagos, people can live in Abeokuta (Ogun State) and work in Lagos because the rail line will pass through Abeokuta.”

Kaduna-Abuja rail

He said that the movement of commuters as a result of the completed Abuja-Kaduna rail project had been phenomenal as he stated that a lot of property acquisition had been going on along the axis.

“People are now building estates along the stretch now because people can easily go to work; within one hour, at least 380 passengers are being conveyed, people who live in Kano now are saying that they want to relocate to Kaduna and come to work in Abuja, this is because our trains will run from 6am daily if not 24 hours,” the Minister reiterated.

Dry ports

Mr Amaechi added that government was planning to encourage dry ports that would aid the movement of goods from main ports like Lagos to dry ports devoid of water for customs clearing.

“All these are part of what we want to achieve as a government and in achieving our mission of establishing a safe, efficient, affordable and seamless inter-modal transport system, we will adopt the internationally acceptable standards and deploy the available resources from the private sector through public private partnership; this goal is realizable and the advantage we have is political will as well as the incorruptible nature of our team leader,” Ameachi maintained.

Colossal loss

While delivering a paper titled ‘Exploring Transportation Beyond Roads’ the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Dayo Mobereola revealed that at least 7.5 million dollars was being lost daily within the economy of Lagos due to traffic congestion.

Dr Mobereola noted that the concentration on use of road transportation and increasing presence of vehicles currently at 80 per 1000 persons and projected to be 200 per 1000 within the next 20 years as well as the challenge of limited roads development further underscored the loss.

“The strategic transport master plan conceived by Lagos State Government to address the various issues within the sector proposes to push the share of rail transportation to 21 percent; the last three years efforts have been directed at establishing a bus route network that will service the State, Lagos needs 450 bus routes 20, 000 buses to service 10 million passenger trips happening daily,” according to the commissioner.

He said six rail lines, 1 mono rail line 14 BRT routes, 3 cable car projects and over 20 water routes are to be developed with implementation strategies being traffic management, ensuring an efficient public transport and transport integration.

Climate change

Also contributing to the discourse, a Professor of Geography and Regional Planning at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Bamidele Badejo identified the vehicles carbon-monoxide emission as one of the major contributors to the problem of climate change.

Professor Badejo who spoke on ‘Dimensions and Challenges of Sustainable Transport Management’ therefore advocated a reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads through intermodal mass transit schemes.

Budgetary provision

On his part, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Roads Safety Commission, (FRSC), Mr Boboye Oyeyemi while presenting a paper on ‘Safety Challenges in Roads Maintenance’ raised concerns on what he termed meager budgetary allocations for road construction and rehabilitation.

Mr Oyeyemi called for provisions in the country’s budget for the Federal Ministry of Works so as to deliver world class roads infrastructure.