Nigerians have been reassured that train services from Lagos to Kano will be a reality before the end of the year with the intra city mass transit earmarked for 6 capital cities have commenced with Kano, Enugu and Lagos.
The Minister of Transport, Yusuf Suleiman disclosed this at a One day extra ordinary Meeting of the National Council of Transport (NCT) in Kaduna. He also added that what was delaying that of Port Harcourt were road projects being executed in the state by the state Government which also traverse the rail lines. He promised that as soon as the road projects were done with, Port Harcourt service would also start enjoying the scheme.
In his address, the Minister lamented the absence of a National Transport Policy in the country despite all efforts by past administrations saying “An efficient transportation system is a key factor in the socio-economic development of any nation as transportation facilitates the movement of goods and people and has direct implication for trade, investment and services. It is therefore sad to note that we are yet to produce an acceptable and viable National Transport Policy that will guide the development of this critical sector of the economy.”
Speaking further, Suleiman said: “The ideals, vision, aspirations, encapsulated in the policy document are indeed critical and necessary if we are to genuinely implement a viable Transform Sector Reform in the country. This administration has in the past few years invested heavily in the development of the Transport sector. It is therefore important to put in place a National Transport Policy that will guide Government’s continued investment and boost private Sector confidence to heavily invest in the sector.
The Kaduna State Governor, represented by his deputy, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero while declaring the meeting open, stressed the importance of a functional rail transport. He said that Kaduna state had long tapped into this vision of a rail mass transit through the rail transit programme introduced in some parts of the state in conjunction with the Nigerian Railway Corporation. He said that the State had also embarked on other projects in the State to ease transport flow.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Edugie Abebe, had, in her welcome address, expressed optimism that the participation of different Stakeholders from different organisations in the sector at the meeting will yield the desired outcome of instituting a well articulated National Transport Policy to guide and facilitate the development of a world class transport system that will meet the needs and aspirations of all Nigerians.
The National Council on Transport is the highest advisory body on transport related matters in Nigeria.