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Nigerian leader commissions $1.5bn standard gauge railway, Deep Blue projects

Nigerian President Muhammadu has commissioned the $1.5 billion Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project for full commercial activities and flagged off…

Nigerian President Muhammadu has commissioned the $1.5 billion Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project for full commercial activities and flagged off the Deep Blue Project of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.Speaking at the ceremony on Thursday in Lagos Buhari described the project as another milestone in the drive of his administration to revitalise the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight.

He pledged that his administration would continue to prioritise the railway system as a transportation backbone that can transform industrial and economic activity in Nigeria.

‘‘This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos – Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port Quayside straight to the Inland Container Depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country,” he said.

According to him, the challenges posed to the nation’s economic growth by the absence of strong and effective infrastructure, “we have in the rail sector, further to other ongoing railway infrastructure projects, embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos – Kano railway, which is Ibadan – Kano.”

He assured that the Lagos – Kano railway project when completed, would link the Kano – Maradi line (in Niger Republic) and a rail link from the Nigerian southern ports of Lagos to Maradi will be achieved.

‘‘The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.

‘‘This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation,” he said.

He explained that the Ibadan-Kano project would have a connection to the Tin Can Island port as well as the West-East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba, and Uyo.

According to Buhari, the various ongoing rail projects on completion, will provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

The Nigerian leader also flagged off the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, which is also known as the Deep Blue Project of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The project is aimed at preventing illegal activities in the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone, enforce maritime regulations, enhance the safety of lives at sea, and prevent illegal activities in the inland waterways.

The project, which is being implemented by NIMASA, in conjunction with the Armed Forces, the Nigerian Police, the Department of State Services, and other security agencies, was conceived in 2017.

The project is fortified with land, sea, and air assets to comprehensively tackle maritime security threats.

                                                                                          

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