|Alhaji Ahmed Gulak|
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, said on Tuesday that the Nigerian railway system would be fully functional before December.
Gulak told newsmen in Abuja that reviving and sustaining the railway system had been the priority of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.
He said by November rail transportation would be viewed as a reality aimed at reducing a lot of difficulties encountered in the sector because enough arrangements had been made.
“Before December, the nation’s railway project will convince Nigerians on the commitment of this government to the provision of a modern rail transport system.
“When people can travel comfortably with affordable fares and they can transport goods at cheaper rates, then a change has been made.
“It has been functioning from Lagos to some parts of the country, especially Lagos-Ibadan and before the end of the year, passengers will be able to travel by rail from Lagos to Kano,’’ he said.
According to him, the development in transport sector is aimed at achieving the Vision 20:2020 which is being propelled by the Transformation Agenda.
He called on all stakeholders in the sector to support government policies aimed at providing a platform for industrial development for Nigerians
He also urged politicians, irrespective of their political parties, to place premium on popular programmes and support them in the interest of the nation.
“We must be patriotic in our approach to issues on national development and our differences in political ideologies must not affect the resolve to uplift the values of the country,’’ he said. It will be recalled that in 2006, the Federal Government signed a contract with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to modernise the Lagos-Kano railway line.
The project has been split into five sections: Lagos-Ibadan (181 kilometre), Ibadan-Ilorin (200 kilometre), Ilorin-Minna (270 kilometre), Minna–Abuja–Kaduna (360 kilometre), and Kaduna-Kano (305 kilometre).