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Full text of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Red Line inauguration

Text of the address by Mr. Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, at the Official Commissioning of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line rail infrastructure by His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, on Thursday, February 29, 2024


Mr. President! Exactly nine months ago to this day, you were sworn in as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and now, as if by a stroke of poetic destiny, you are here today, exactly nine months to the date, to breathe life into a vision of progress and connectivity. A vision that was conceived during your time as the Executive Governor of this state. This is no doubt a very special moment, for you, and for Lagos State.

Indeed, today’s event is the culmination of a long and painstaking journey of reforming the transportation sector in Lagos State. In the year 2003, you, Mr. President, established the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to coordinate and oversee transport policies and programs in Lagos State, and to deliver an intermodal, integrated transport system, one that would allow the seamless movement of people and fuel the economic growth of the State.

I am proud to say that Lagos State has a Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), that outlines what that integrated rail system should look like: six rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors, over 20 water routes, and a vast network of major and inner roads.

For the first time in the history of Lagos we have a system comprising of, and integrating, all three modes of transportation: road (through the BRT system), rail (through the Lagos Rail Mass Transit) and water (through our statewide Ferry System). Every day, the system serves millions of Lagosians, across these three transport options.

Uniting them is our world-class digital payment platform, known as the Cowry Card. So far, we have issued 4.2 million of these Cards. The integration we have achieved means that any one of these millions of Cowry Cardholders can choose to travel by bus, train or ferry, and transit effortlessly between all three, using the same payment platform.

Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

The first pillar of our administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S.+ governing agenda is Traffic Management and Transportation, and we have put in a lot of work to build on what our predecessors have done, and to continue delivering results for the people of Lagos State.

Five BRT corridors are now in operation. The first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Blue Line from Marina to Mile 2, wholly powered by electricity, was commissioned last year by President Muhammadu Buhari, and it has since commenced passenger operations. So far, the system has moved close to one million passengers since inception.

In the area of roads, major ongoing and completed projects include the Old Ojo road in Amuwo-Odofin, the Abiola Onigemo Road in Ifako-Ijaiye, the Ishefun to Camp Davies road in Alimosho; the Agric Isawo – Arepo Road in Ikorodu; the 10-lane Badagry Expressway; the Ojota – Opebi Link Bridge and Approach Roads, and the rebuilding and upgrading of Lekki-Epe Expressway with reinforced concrete, from T-junction, Epe to Abraham Adesanya.

In the grand tapestry of our development agenda, we are advancing a series of visionary legacy initiatives that span the vital sectors of healthcare, education, tourism, housing, and transportation.

These include the second phases of our Blue and Red Lines, the pioneering Omu Creek Project, the state-of-the-art Lekki Epe International Airport, the robust Lagos Food Security Systems and Central Logistics Park, and the transformative 4th Mainland Bridge.

We are currently negotiating and completing the financing arrangements for all these projects, and I am pleased to announce that we will break ground on the 4th Mainland Bridge in April 2024.

All of these major projects I have outlined are in addition to the multitudes of inner roads, bridges, and junction improvements that we have completed and are completing and are making a huge difference in the daily lives and commutes of millions of residents of Lagos State.

Each project is a cornerstone in our unwavering commitment to forging a prosperous future for Lagos State and its esteemed citizens.

Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we mark a historic milestone in the annals of Lagos State and indeed, our nation, with the commissioning of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line – a 37-kilometre marvel of modern engineering that stretches from Agbado in Ogun State to the iconic National Theatre in Iganmu.

The segment we inaugurate today spans an impressive 27 kilometres from Agbado to Oyingbo, featuring state-of-the-art stations at Agbado, Iju, Agege, Ikeja, Oshodi, Mushin, Yaba, and Oyingbo. We started construction mid-2020, and I am happy that our administration has been able to complete it.

As part of the project, we have also completed the construction of five over-passes strategically located at Pen Cinema (Agege), Mushin, Ikeja, Oyingbo, and Yaba, and ingeniously designed to ensure the seamless flow of vehicular traffic, undisturbed by the rail infrastructure.

At this juncture, allow me, Mr. President to digitally showcase the following Red Line Stations: Oyingbo, Yaba, Mushin, Oshodi, Agege and Iju. (Cue for LAMATA to flash images and digital recordings of the stations on the LED Screen in the order of the pronouncement by Mr. Gov-Lag)

Mr. President, in the pursuit of operational excellence and in our steadfast commitment to enhancing the lives of our citizens, the launch of the red line commenced with the introduction of two state of the art Spanish manufactured Talgo train sets procured in 2022. We subsequently procured an additional two sets of GWR rolling stock from the United Kingdom in 2023.

And just a few weeks ago, bolstered by the unwavering support of the Federal Government, I was in China to finalize the purchase of six additional sets of rolling stock for both the Blue and Red Lines. These are currently being retrofitted for intra-state travel; and when they arrive, we will be able to
increase the number of daily passenger trips.

At full capacity this first phase of the Red Line will transport 250,000 passengers daily, which will grow to 750,000 passengers daily when we have the full complement of rolling stock on the line.

We are grateful to His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, CON, for starting the construction of the Blue Line, and also his successor, His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for his significant and indelible contributions to the further development of the Blue Line. Your services to Lagos State are greatly appreciated.

I must also mention the role played by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the completion of the infrastructure of the two rail lines. We were able to raise funds to start and complete the first phases of these two rail lines under the Bank’s
Differentiated Cash Reserve Ratio (DCRR) window. This financing was made available through United Bank for Africa, First Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

The Red Line will share tracks with the Nigeria Railway Corporation’s (NRC’s) service from Lagos to Ibadan. We thank former President Goodluck Jonathan for signing-off on the track-sharing agreement, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for providing us with the necessary cooperation and support.

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: the 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 siting the new Lagos International Airport.

The Purple Line is a 54.35-kilometre line from the Redemption Camp to Ojo, near the Lagos State University. The final two lines will be the Orange and the Yellow Lines.

In closing, I would like to commend the dedication of everyone involved in bringing this project to life. First, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, for the invaluable support he has rendered to Lagos State on this rail infrastructure journey. Special thanks also to the LAMATA team under the Leadership of Engr. Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo – your contributions will forever be part of the story of the new and greater Lagos that is emerging.

Our gratitude also goes to CCECC Nigeria Limited, who under the leadership of its chairman, Mr. Jason Zhang have, as usual, delivered on a great construction job. We are proud to have put together a working model of cooperation and synergy, across public and private sectors, that has successfully delivered this very significant project.

We can boldly say that the future of transportation is here, in Lagos: Live it, Love it, Own it! A Greater Lagos is indeed rising!

Thank you all for listening.

Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu
Governor of Lagos State
February 29, 2024

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