The Federal government says it is optimising the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Modernisation Project by extending it to Apapa Port, for efficient movement of Cargo to various destinations across the countries, including West African sub region.
Nigeria Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who made the comment at the ground breaking ceremony of Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant, situated at Ifo Local Government Area, noted that, apart from expediting export and import flow, it would decongest Apapa Port and take pressure off the roads.
He said Federal government was putting in place mechanism to achieve a shift completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry Port, to off-take containers and Cargo from Apapa Port through the Lagos- Ibadan Rail line.
Prof. Osinbajo described the project, which was an initiative of the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), as important in the production of rolling stock, spare parts and maintenance equipment needed for the railway modernisation programme being implemented by the Federal government.
“The project is important because railway is an alternative and comfortable means of transportation. It holds the master key in transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent by linking our borders.
“When completed, the plant will produce some parts of the wagon for the Lagos- Ibadan and Abuja- Kaduna rail line, satisfy the need of other rail operators within the West African sub region and the entire African continent”, he said.
The Vice President observed that the siting of the plant in Nigeria and the commitment of the company to hire its citizens and engage indigenous businesses affirms the President’s directive, as contained in Executive Order five, on prioritizing Nigerian businesses in the innovation of production and procurement of engineering project and services.
While fielding questions from newsmen at the ceremony, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, said government would take advantage of this laudable project by investing on small rail lines, train stops, industrial hub and residential estates, to enable people live and invest in the State.
“We appreciate the Federal government for this initiative which is to connect as many states as possible to the rail lines. Railway is the cheapest mode of transportation. For us in Ogun State, it presents a unique opportunity as it will crisscross large portion of the State land mass. We will do everything possible to support this project to provide employment to our people”, he noted.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, said the Wagon Assembly Plant would provide job opportunity for 5000 people and manufacture railway equipment not only for Nigeria, but other African countries when in operative.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, represented by Mr. Li Yuan, noted that Nigeria and China relationship in the past 43 years had yielded mutual benefits, saying the effort was to assist Nigeria develop her railway system.