The Nigeria government will “vigorously” pursue rail development in the country to link all major commercial and production centres by rail for rapid social economic development and national integration, president Muhammadu Buhari has said.
“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,” the Nigerian leader said on Thursday while inaugurating 10 additional coaches and two locomotive engines for the country’s first completed standard gauge railway modernisation project assisted by China. The coaches and locomotive engines provided by Chinese construction firm China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The Abuja-Kaduna rail line was a major achievement in Nigeria’s rail transport development because it has met the needs of the masses, Buhari noted at the event at Rigasa Station of the railway service in the northwestern state of Kaduna.
He said it was part of his administration’s mandate to revive the rail sector.
The standard gauge railway service was open for commercial operation on July 28, 2016, to provide the much-needed alternative transport link between the nation’s capital city and Kaduna, a corridor of growing labor force which has a huge potential for industries and agricultural activities.
Earlier, Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s minister of transportation, said the 10 coaches and two locomotive engines would resolve the high demand of passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train service. According to Amaechi, the train was currently carrying 1,280 passengers on a round trip daily but the addition of these new coaches would help improve the service.