KADUNA – President Goodluck Jonathan said that his administration had intensified efforts to modernise and transform the nation’s railway system for national prosperity and development.
The president, who spoke at the inauguration of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) passenger service for intra-city Kaduna, said transforming and modernising the rail system would facilitate national growth and development.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the essence of much attention to the railway system was to reduce the cost of moving goods and services across the country and make Nigerians happy.
He, however, lamented that in the last 30 years, the railway sector had suffered neglect by previous administrations.
He restated that the present administration had rekindled hope in the lives of Nigerians and assured that effective and efficient rail system would continue to be their priority.
In his speech, Governor Muktar Yero of Kaduna State observed that the railway system was the most affordable and easy means of transportation.
He said the state government had worked hard to improve its transportation system by acquiring and distributing vehicles to commuters to ease the transport system.
The Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, advocated for a private-public partnership to make the system functional.
Umar disclosed that nine railway stations would be remodeled to suit the PPP arrangement.
He said the Lagos-Kano route had created a considerable number of job opportunities since its inception.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Adeseyi Sijuade, said the intra-city services would be run jointly by the NRC and the Kaduna State Government to enhance transport efficiency in the city.
Sijuade said the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line would be launched in the first quarter of 2015.
According to him, the standard gauge which travels at 180 kilometres per hour can comfortably enable workers to work in Abuja but live in Kaduna.
He also said the DMU train which moves at 100 kilometres per hour has the capacity to carry 540 passengers at a time.