• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lagos rail project validation of democracy, says Tinubu

FG targets $2.7bn annual revenue from seamless port operations

…says incessant labour strikes unacceptable

…as Sanwo-Olu seeks FG’s support to build more rail lines

President Bola Tinubu has said that the continuing realisation of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) scheme by successive administrations in the state is a validation of democracy which returned to Nigeria in 1999.

The LRMT was envisioned by Tinubu 25 years ago while he served as governor of Lagos State between 1999-2007.

Encapsulated in the mass rail transit scheme are six lines meant for different corridors in the state. Of the six, two: 27km Blue Line, on the Marina-Orile-Mile 2 corridor, and 37 km Red Line, on the Agbado-Ikeja, Mushin-Yaba-Oyigbo-Iddo corridor have begun operations.

Preliminary works, according to the state government, will begin on another two- Green Line, which is 71.49km and will run from Marina to the Lekki Free Zone, and Purple Line, a 54.35km route to run from the Redemption Camp to Ojo, near the Lagos State University. The final two lines will be the Orange and the Yellow Lines.

Speaking at the official commissioning of the Red Line rail system on Thursday, Tinubu said the project was a validation of democracy of the people, for the people and by the people.

He added that the commissioning was also the crowning of the momentum of greatness his administration kick-started many years ago which has become a reality.

He further noted that the rail project was proof that a well-guided blueprint has worked across four administrations in the state.

“Today is evidence that it’s good to dream and it is a serious validation of democracy by the people for the people. When we’re focused, have vision, and plan, we will realise the value of democracy.

“25 years ago, I was elected to lead Nigeria’s most populous state, the smallest in land mass, when all that existed here was suppressed and aborted potential, and when the dream began, my team and I toiled day and night to draft and implement a developmental vision that will transform Lagos into the economic powerhouse of Africa and a respected mega-city on a global state. We are releasing that dream.”

The president commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his team for the project.

Tinubu at the event also condemned incessant strikes by the labour movement, saying it was unacceptable.

“The labour has gone on strike four times within my nine months in government. That’s a record. Calling for a strike in just nine months of an administration is unacceptable. NLC is not the only voice in Nigeria. It should wait till 2027 if it is interested in joining the electoral process.”

Tinubu said he was aware of the complaints over the economic challenge in the country, assuring that he would turn things around.

“I am assuring that Nigeria will be out of economic problems, we just need to persevere, work hard, and be assured”.

Tinubu pointed to corruption as one of the major reasons the country was facing economic challenges but promised not to look back in the fight against it.

“No going back on reforms revolution. Smugglers will fight back, corruption will fight back but we will fight and win,” he said.

On his part, Governor Sanwo-Olu sought the support of the Federal Government to further actualise its dream on other rail lines yet to kick off.

“Mr. President, this is not the end of the story, but merely the beginning. As I said earlier, we are on a long and exciting journey. Much has been accomplished, and there is still much ahead to be done. There will be a total of six Lines on the Lagos rail mass transit system when fully developed. We have already started preliminary work on the next two: Green and Purple Lines.

“The Green Line is a 71.49-kilometre route from Marina to the Lekki Free Zone, one of the fastest-growing industrial areas on the continent today, and also where we will be sitting the new Lagos International Airport.

“The Purple Line is a 54.35km Line from the Redemption Camp to Ojo, near the Lagos State University. The final two lines will be the Orange and the Yellow Lines”, he said

The governor also assured that work would commence on the much-awaited Fourth Mainland Bridge by April this year.