By Odimmegwa Johnpeter/Abuja
Passengers who would be boarding the newly completed rail line from Lagos to Abeokuta would be enjoying free rides for the next three months, the Federal Government has said.
Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, said this during the official test running of the new standard gauge rail from Lagos to Abeokuta.
Amaechi said that the free train ride would start on Saturday Feb. 9 to convey passengers from Lagos to Abeokuta.
“The train will run free from Lagos to Abeokuta where people can join it from Iju station.
“This is the third standard gauge in the country, the first is in Warri-Itakpe, the Kaduna Abuja and the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan line.
“This is not an inauguration ceremony but we decided to put the train on the track to convey people from Lagos to Abeokuta freely from Kilometre 21 Iju Lagos to Kilometre 82 Laderin, Abeokuta,” he said.
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, said that the rail project would bring economic advantage to Abeokuta residents.
According to Amosun, said the project is not a window dressing but a reality development.
“We are not playing politics here and it is not a window dressing, we appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari, for fulfilling his promises.
“What we are doing today is what will make the country be among the comity of developed countries.
“When it starts its operations the train will bring economic growth to the residents in the various communities.
“The standard gauge line will remove lots of vehicles on the road thereby reduce pressure and accident on the road.
“Honestly, very soon all these places will become mega city as more people will run to Ogun to work and reside,” he said.
Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, commended President Buhari for fulfilling his promise made in 2015.
Ashafa said that the president specifically mentioned rail project and fulfilled his promises.
On the ride for the inspection were the Minister of transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, Senator Ashafa, traditional rulers and other government functionaries as well as the management staff of the Nigerian railway corporation.
The Managing Director of the rail corporation Eng. Fidelis Okhiria was very upbeat about the achievement.
Okhiria said the people can now travel for free from Iju, Lagos to Abeokuta for about a month, using the newly-completed trains by the Federal Government.
He said non-commercial operations will begin next week, between Iju and Abeokuta.
According to Mr. Okhiria, the train will run the route 4times a day, he added that by the end of May, the Lagos-Ibadan tracks will be completed.