By Babajide Okeowo
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to commission the newly constructed Lagos-Ibadan rail line by January 2021. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during the inauguration of recently elected members of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA).
Amaechi said Buhari was a committed reformer determined to change the face of transportation in the country.
CIoTA President, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, while welcoming the minister, disclosed that the transport sector was moving into a new era of professionalism that was set to usher in excellence across the various modes.
Amaechi said the rail project had been delivered, but its usage would commence before the official commissioning. He also disclosed that he had approved the fares for the route.
According to him, “I just got the mandate from President Buhari that he would commission the Lagos-Ibadan railway in January 2021. However, they should have been operating even before that time.
“I also have approved the cost of transportation by rail from Lagos to Ibadan. We just transferred the cost, like that of Kaduna, which we think is quite fair.”
Amaechi stated that the Buhari administration was committed to reviving and improving the entire transport infrastructure in the country. He stressed that there were already many visible changes, especially in the aviation and maritime subsectors of the transportation industry.
The minister stated, “In the transport sector under this government, a lot is going on, like working to complete the terminals under aviation. I am sure you would have seen changes at the Port Harcourt airport and Abuja. I am sure the Minister of Aviation will tell us very soon when the airport in Kano and the one in Lagos would be completed.”
While commending the activities of CIoTA under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Amaechi stated that the Federal Ministry of Transportation would partner with the Institute to encourage professionalism in the transport sector as well as ensure seamless and effective transportation across all modes.
In his remarks earlier, Jamoh, who is also Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), lauded the effort of the Federal Government to upgrade the transport infrastructure. He said CIoTA was promoting professionalism and training to aid the government with the right manpower to man the transport infrastructure.
The CIoTA President stated, “Nigeria has made a significant investment in transportation.
“The journey for the Institute has begun. We are building on broad policies anchored on a tripod of professionalism; education, research and development; and advocacy.”
To ensure professionalism, Jamoh said CIoTA was working hard to empower members with the required skills, knowledge, and expertise to man the country’s transportation infrastructure. The Institute is also working with universities and other tertiary institutions to try to build professionalism in the transport sector from the undergraduate level, he said, adding that committees have been set up to follow up on policy recommendations from CIoTA to ensure their implementation.