The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday virtually inaugurated the 326-kilometre Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation and directed the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that all the nation’s ports were linked to the rail line.
He listed the ports of origin and destination to be linked to the rail network to include Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne and Calabar Ports.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed these in a statement titled ‘After 30 years in limbo, President Buhari inaugurated 326Km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation’.
The statement read, “At the virtual opening of the rail line linking Itakpe to Warri, President Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports of origin and destination – Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, Calabar Ports – to the rail network in order to significantly improve overall transportation and economic capacities.
“The President declared that his administration recognised the importance of the railway mode of transportation as a vital backbone to support industrialisation and economic development.”
The presidential aide also quoted the Buhari as saying that he had approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes in the country.
He said, “Accordingly, I have approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes for either new rail lines or the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some, to achieve effective and efficient train services supporting the country’s trade and commerce.
According to the statement, the President expressed confidence that the project, which serves as a vital link of South-South geopolitical zones of the country to the Northern zones, would be completed during the tenure of this administration.
Buhari enjoined all Nigerians in the transportation industry, especially the railway subsector, to continue to support government in its stride to achieve other railway infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for extension of the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge to link Benin Industrial Park in Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state.
The governor made the appeal in his goodwill message at the virtual inauguration of Goodluck Jonathan Railway Complex in Agbor (Owa-Oyibu), Delta State, by Buhari.