Restoration Of Efficient Rail Services Will Reduce Pressure On Lagos Roads - Fashola
Feb 2, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Monday asserted that the restoration of rail services in Nigeria to move goods and services in a much more efficient manner will reduce by up to 30 or 40 percent the pressure on Lagos roads.
Governor Fashola who spoke when he received the Minister of Transportation, Mr Ibrahim Biu on a courtesy visit to Lagos House, Ikeja, added that if the rail service commenced running as soon as possible the micro economic effect on the people would be truly tremendous.
Governor Fashola added that “in more ways than we have ever bordered to think, transportation plays such a critical role in the quality of life that we live. Our primary instinct is to look for food, clothing and shelter and in that process we look for work, we sell, we trade, we travel to school, the success of which depends on how efficiently we can move around”.
Said he: “The prices of goods and services from yam flour to meat depend on how efficiently we can transport them. How much are we getting for the liter of fuel we buy? Each liter is supposed to give a scientific distance of usage but are we burning all of it in one place. Because once you deliver on an efficient transport system, you are keeping money in people’s pocket. They will have more money to spend”.
Governor Fashola added that there could be no greater stimulus for the Nigerian economy now than an efficient transportation system.
The Governor also called on the Minister to consider the handing over of some of the unserviced jetties of the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Lagos to the State Government to rehabilitate and make them functional.
He added that the state already has some concessionaires who are waiting to start ferry services but are being hampered by the speed of delivery of the terminal buildings and jetty facilities.
Governor Fashola added that the people of Lagos are earnestly awaiting the commencement of the light rail system and the state is preparing for the contractor to move in by the setback clearing.
He informed the Minister that the state has collaboration with the Federal Government and Ogun State Government to do the red route of its light rail programme from Iddo to Ijoko- Otta in Ogun State under the Lagos Mega City arrangement.
He explained that the need to establish the route for the light rail is one of the underlying factors apart from free road traffic that has necessitated the setback clearing which the state is embarking upon along Oshodi, Bolade and several other areas in the state.
He commended the Minister for the level of cooperation which the state has received from agencies under the ministry especially the Nigerian Railways Corporation.
While expressing his readiness to work and collaborate with the Minister, he promised that this would only be possible if he operates within the strict confines of the law as the state would not compromise on its principles as enshrined in the constitution.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Transportation Mr Ibrahim Biu said the Ministry intends to commence the full rehabilitation of the Nigerian Railways system, particularly the old narrow rail, which is perhaps the fastest and the easiest to accomplish.
The Minister added that he has the directives of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to ensure that railway services are functional latest by December this year or first week in January next year at least for haulage of goods from Lagos to Kano at the first phase.
He said he was in Lagos to inspect the Nigerian Railway workshops assets, both movable and fixed, with a view to making the railway services back to work once again, reiterating that Lagos plays a very important role in the economy of the country be it rail, water and air, all of which have their terminal and starting points from Lagos.
Mr Ibrahim Biu congratulated Governor Fashola for the wonderful job he is doing in Lagos, describing him as a role model of good governance, a focused and visionary leader.