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Federal Government inaugurates new trains and coaches in Lagos.
President Goodluck Jonathan
The Federal Government on Monday in Lagos reiterated its commitment to boost rail transportation with a promise to provide more infrastructure.
President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this during the official inauguration of two Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) train sets and six air-conditioned passenger coaches at the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Terminus.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, said the Federal Government had commenced the implementation of a 25-year transport sector development plan across the nation.
“This is part of the concerted efforts of our administration to steadily improve the railway rolling stock. It is the beginning. Within the next few months, more rolling stocks will be delivered.
“My presence here today is to further show the full resolve of this administration to bring Nigeria at par with modern railway services available globally by constantly upgrading our rolling stock.
“The ongoing railway rehabilitation will continue because of adequate funding from regular budget and SURE-P intervention, “ Jonathan said.
The president said: “The step is aimed at resuscitating and revitalising Nigerian railway which had suffered neglect for decades.”
He said that the strategic transformation project included the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge, the construction of new standard gauge rail line and maintenance.
Jonathan added:“ With the support of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, the House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport and the efforts of the NRC management, the goal will be realised.”
Also speaking, the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, said most of the rail transport projects across the country would be completed by the end of the year.
“I wish to assure the President, the Vice-President and all Nigerians of our determination to ensure the completion of ongoing railway projects across the country, “ he said.
Umar commended the Federal Government for its commitment and support in executing the railway projects in the country.
In his address, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the Chairman, NRC Board of Directors, attributed the economic development of any nation to the effective and functional operation of the rail system.
“The survival and indeed the extent of development of any economy depend very significantly on the extent of development and efficiency of its transportation system.
“Our intention is to improve on the infrastructure of the NRC to ensure it increases passengers and freight movements, “ he said.
Tukur said the Board of the NRC would continue to provide the desired policy to ensure affordable, safe and value-added rail transport.
In his remarks, Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said new trains and coaches would improve the transport system in the state for the benefits of all residents.
Fashola, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said the state needed rail infrastructure for its teeming population.
“It is a very welcome development to our nation, Nigeria and to the Centre of Excellence, Lagos State. No doubt, we require this infrastructure.
“We appreciate it and we will continue to give every moral support that the corporation requires as we now have complementary services in the transport system of Lagos State, “ the governor said.
The Managing Director of NRC, Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, said the significant part of the Eastern Line rehabilitation would be completed by the third quarter of 2014.
“The corporation would continue to pursue its vision, mission, and core values to attain its mandate of carriage of passengers and goods in a manner that is safe, reliable and affordable.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that each of the new coaches has passenger capacity of 68 seats and 108 standing. (NAN)