President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to vigorously pursue rail development in Nigeria through the implementation of the railway master plan.
Buhari said this during the inauguration of Additional Locomotives and Coaches at Rigasa Station in Kaduna State.
He said that it was part of his administration’s mandate to revive the rail sector, stating that the Abuja-Kaduna rail line was a major achievement because it has met the needs of the masses.
He said that the Federal Government would link all major commercial and production centres by rail for rapid social economic development and national integration.
“You may also recall that during the commissioning in July 2016, I reiterate our commitment to vigorously pursue rail development in Nigeria through the implementation of the 25 years strategic Railway Master Plan.
“We are encouraging private sector participation in railway with negotiation ongoing with the General Electric (GE) on the concessioning of the narrow gauge lines.
“We are moving forward to more efficient narrow gauge lines to be driven by the private sector, it’s on the basis of this that we are creating a more conducive environment for private sector participation.
“By strengthening our legal and regulatory framework, we reassure Nigerians that we are committed in linking all commercial sector with railway which will improve the quality of life and bring about national integration.”
Earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said that the two locomotives and 10 coaches would resolve the high demand of passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train service.
According to him, the commissioning is a clear demonstration of the administration’s resolve to provide a functional transport system.
He said that the train was currently carrying 1,280 passengers on a round trip daily, noting that these new coaches would help improve their services.
Amaechi said that with this new executive coaches, express train service would be introduced with only one stop at Kubwa station.
He added that some coaches would also be deployed to Warri-Itakpe Standard gauge line.
He, however, said that the Warri-Itakpe was expected to be completed in September, while the Lagos-Kano would be completed in December.