Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has flagged off the N458 billion Lagos – Ibadan modern railway project, assuring that the project would be completed within the time frame of December 2018.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the ground breaking ceremony held at Nigerian Railway Corporation premises in Ebute Metta, Lagos, described the development as a reflection of the Federal Government plan to build a globally competitive economy with first grade infrastructure.
He said the development of a functional railway system in the country is very dear to President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the ground breaking of the Lagos-Ibadan project further signifies the determination of the President to modernize the national railway system.
Osinbajo said, “The President in his January 2016 visit to China reopened negotiation on the Chinese support for this project, secondly this ceremony also marks the commencement of our plan to move speedily to improve links with Lagos which is the national economic nerve centre and major port to other state capitals across the country.
“We made provision for matching funds in 2016 budget to complement the concession loans obtain from the People Republic of China. We have the entire Lagos- Kano rail track as well as the Lagos-Calabar railway track in the 2017 budget.”
The Acting President said negotiations has been completed on the next phase of Kaduna –Kano portion, saying the government has provided the counterpart funding for the Lagos-Calabar routes.
He added that negotiations with the foreign counterpart funding will be finalized within the next three months.
He said, “An active and vibrant railway system conferred many benefit on the society. Our ultimate goal is to restore a railway using culture for both commercial and personal transportation. We are confident that the national rail project will create up to half a million jobs and facilitate the movement of up to 3.2 tons of cargo per annum.
“It will also reduce the burden on national highways thus reducing deterioration of the road network and increasing the life span of our roads.”
He stressed that railway network will support efforts to diversify the economy and enhance the country export potentials.