…As Sambo says Buhari has laid down 25-year Infrastructure Plan***
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has described the Nigerian Railway Corporation as a bedrock of social-economic development which has touched many lives.
Sambo stated this while on a working visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation corporate headquarters in Ebute – Metta, Lagos.
The Minister who commended the support of stakeholders in the Transportation Sector said he wished that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had come earlier to help kickstart the Railway modernization programme.
Sambo also noted that the Nigerian Railway Corporation has a rich history of unifying the people and impacting so many lives.
“The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has a very rich history and a lot of us who are our age know the impact the railway corporation has had on so many families in this country.
“Some people speak Igbo because their parents worked in the Railway corporation, some people speak Hausa because their parents worked in the Northern part of the country at a point or the other in their lives all because of their employment with the NRC, indeed this corporation has done well in unifying the country.
“It is so unfortunate that this bedrock of social-economic development was allowed to die, to be laid comatose. At a time when we discovered oil and at a time when we even said at one time that we didn’t even know what to do with money.
“Honesty, I wish the incumbent President had come much earlier. However, it is better late than never. The foundation is laid and there is no going back. I don’t think any government will come after this and not continue with the Railway modernization program of this administration, which has been very robust.” he said.
Sambo further commended the effort of the former Minister of Transportation, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi and other members of staff for their achievements in the Rail sector.
He acknowledged their support and prayed for their continuous cooperation so as to leave a positive and lasting impression in the rail transportation sector.
“I want to thank those of you that we met on board for having achieved all that we have seen and some of them we are going to see today. The progress in the rail sub-sector is something that we are all proud of.
“I think the gratitude goes to my predecessor and those of you here who supported him. We must commend him for all the things he did while he was in office.
“One of those achievements is in the Rail sub-sector. I want to join everyone in hailing my immediate predecessor, Right Honourable Rotimi Amaechi for all he has done, especially in the rail sub-sector. He has indeed left an indelible mark, which you cannot take away from him.
“Those of us that have come after him, have a very limited time but we have vowed to continue from where he stopped and we can only make an impression. If we get your total support.
“So far, we have received that support and we hope that the support will continue until the last day which is May 29, 2023, may God spare our lives,” he said.
Sambo further assured members of staff of the railway corporation that the Ministry would continue to support them by creating an environment where they can work comfortably without any harassment or intimidation.
“On our own, we will continue to support you as we know that we are all here for the good of the country. I would like to thank you for this warm welcome.
“So on behalf of my colleague, Prince Adegoroye, the Permanent Secretary, the directors, and other members of staff who came from Abuja, I want to thank you and wish all of us a great day and a blessed one. Thank you,” he said.
In another development, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has indicated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had laid the foundation for a 25-year infrastructure plan.
Sambo said the infrastructure plan built on a 25-year railway modernization programme essentially features programs that ensure every state capital is linked by rail.
The Minister said that the whole country would be connected by rail while trying to connect every state capital.
“I don’t have to tell you the advantages that railway brings so by the time that plan is achieved, the whole country would have been connected.
“Already we have the Eastern line. It’s been rehabilitated from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, we have the western line from Lagos to Kano, the narrow gauge is operational and the new standard gauge, Lagos-Ibadan which we are on now is already operational.
“Abuja-Kaduna is operational, Kaduna Kano is being constructed and other sections and stations are also being constructed.
“Now we have the central line running from Warri to Itakpe, which is operational and ultimately that same line will also link up with Abuja so that if you live in Delta State, you want to come to Abuja, you have no business going by air or road.
“At the end of the day, the entire country would have been connected by a network of railways that would make life easier for passengers’ movement in large volumes and movement of goods,” he said.
The Minister emphasised that railway Infrastructure is a bedrock of social economic development and that the next administration should build up on what the present government is doing.
He revealed that a ministerial retreat was also recently held to score the performance and the mandates given to each ministry.
‘The essential features of this retreat were to review the performance and see what has been achieved and also lay the foundation for a transition for the incoming government. By the way, the President has made it very clear that this government will work every day until May 29., 2023.” he added.
Speaking on the importance of linking the railway to the ports, Sambo said he recently paid a visit to the Comptroller General of Customs to take him up on several issues that are of concern to the Ministry of Transportation, particularly the Apapa ports.
Sambo said the government is continuous and it is important that a transition plan take place so that subsequent administrations can build on what the present administration is doing.
“When the Buhari administration came to power, there was no transition plan from the PDP government. Nothing at all to build upon and we felt it was wrong, we needed to correct it as part of governance.
“Even if you are handing over to an opposition party, give them something to build upon. Government is continuous. So you must prepare for the next coming government.” He said.
The Minister further urged Nigerians to ignore sentiments and commend President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for his commitment to infrastructure development.
Sambo said politics should be set aside and honour should be given to whom it’s due, especially when it is obvious that the present administration has completed almost all projects abandoned by previous administrations.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has improved the security architecture of the country and also the revenue-generating power compared to the lad administration.
“Before this present administration, a lot of communities in the North were under the control of terrorists but look at it now. Business is back to normal and there is peace.
“Then we would come down from our vehicles and raise our hands while passing by military checkpoints. It’s been a long time since we had incidents of such now.
“You see, we cannot live without challenges but the ability of government to respond to challenges in the interest of the citizens is what is paramount and why shouldn’t we be appreciated,” he said.