Finally, the long-awaited Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge railway line has been commissioned and opened for both passenger and cargo operations.
This feat which was achieved by the current President Muhammadu Burahi government is worthy of commendation and emulation.
Though we recall that the project has suffered uncountable number of missed proposed commissioning dates due to many factors, chief among them being the covid-19 pandemic, it is welcoming that the project is now fully a reality.
Other factors that delayed the project includes heavy rains, vandalisation of railway fittings, re-settlement of locals, general elections etc.
It would be recalled that the $1.53 billion contract was awarded in 2012 to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for the construction of 156 km of the standard gauge railway by 2016.
After delays, a ground-breaking ceremony finally took place on 7 March 2017, and on June 10, 2021, the project was commissioned.
With the commissioning, it is expected that the volume of road traffic between Lagos and Ibadan will drop and reduce the pressure on the roads, which may translate to a reduction in road crashes on that corridor.
Expectations are also high that the project will boost economic activities along the corridor as the number of passengers grow with time.
Meanwhile, we commend the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who directly supervised the project from the beginning to the end for his steadfastness and doggedness in ensuring the CCECC contractors were constantly on their toes.
The project is funded by a $1.3 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China and about $182 million from the Nigerian government. The project scope was later adjusted to start from Apapa to accommodate the evacuation of cargo from the seaports.
The Lagos-Ibadan line is a critical section of the broader $11.1 billion 2,733 kilometers Lagos-Kano standard-gauge north-south railway being constructed by CCECC.