By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABEOKUTA—The federal government on Friday, flagged off the Lagos to Abeokuta axis of the Lagos-Ibadan railway for passengers’ use.
The rail line, will be open for passengers’ use free of charge for three months, after which it will be charged.
Speaking at the flag off in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Governer, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, stated that the project will help Nigeria to be among the comity of developed nations and emerging market, adding that there cannot be a developed nation without infrastructure.
“What is being done will revolutionize Nigeria, as the time one would have spent will be reduced. It will take 29 mins from Lagos to Abeokuta and it has not been like this since the creation of the country”, he said.
Amosun, further revealed that the project will yield benefits to the state such as socio-economic development, take burdens off the road and spur development.
According to him, “The benefits of the railway project are numerous, there will be socio-economic development of Nigeria, the rail will take burdens off the roads which have already gone bad due to overload and it will help to improve the economy and industries, as it will be easy to move goods.
“Time will be shortened and the hassles will be lessened and, it will create employment to the young graduates, artisans and others, as about 95 per cent of the workers are Nigerians and they are getting technology transfer”.
The Governer, who reiterated that the railway will spur development wherever it passes, however said, that it is not about politics to him but reality, adding that any body that did good deserves to be returned.
“The president is working his talk and bringing back the good old days. For me, it is not about campaigns, our achievements will speak for us”, he said.
Earlier, The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi in his welcome address, revealed that the train wil start running free of charge from Saturday February 9, with three trips—morning, afternoon and evening to convey passengers, while work continues from Iju to Ebute Metta down to Apapa.
Ameachi, further said that the rail line is the third standard gauge in Nigeria and stations will be built and completed one year from now, urging the people to vote in the All Progressives Congress (APC), for continuity of the project.
On some challenges facing the community, he urged the contractor in charge, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), to ensure that everyone have access to their village and their community.
Also speaking,Prof. Wole Soyinka in his goodwill message, said he is content with the project, adding also that it should be taken beyond politics.
“This is not a political vote gathering occasion,I am content with what I have seen so far. I don’t give a damn whose project is there, it does not matter what so ever. This is not a do-or-die occasion but a do and do occasion”, he remarked.
The Lagos-Abeokuta axis of the railway which is the first phase of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, will be in use, while work continues on the other sections.