BY MIKE OCHONMA
President Muhammadu Buhari was in Lagos on Tuesday to officially commission the first phase of the 13km Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) train popularly called the Lagos Blue Line.
The rail project,said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state is to restate the state commitment to bring the entire stretch of the blue line to completion.
He said the blue line commissioning is a product of the timeless vision of the state that dates back to 20 years, adding that one of the greatest legacies was developing a comprehensive roadmap for the future of Lagos that clearly defines the pathway for a modern, prosperous and globally competitive megacity.
The Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) was envisioned as a sixth metro line of which the blue line, which is a 27 Kilometer stretch, running from Marina to Okokomaiko was the first to be completed.
“With the Federal Government support, we have received tremendous assistance, especially on the Lagos Badagry expressway which is the main corridor for this rail project,” he said.
He pointed out that the benefits of the blue line will reduce travel time and improve the quality of life of citizens while making Lagos one of the most resilient megacities not only in Africa but also competing with other megacities in the world.
“You might also know too that these blue line systems will be powered end to end by high voltage electricity to be supplied by a dedicated independent power source as well as a backup system. This means that the operation of this line will have zero carbon emission impacts on the environment.
“This iconic Marina station that we are hosting here today will be the largest and the busiest in Africa. It has the capacity to process about 400 to 450 passengers every minute, meaning in an hour, the station can process about 25,000 passengers.
He commended the President for assisting with clearing waivers on custom duty to bring in the trains, saying that the completion of the blue line is the first rail system by a sub-national in Africa.
Earlier, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, said the blue line is a sustainable project demonstrating the Lagos state government’s commitment to making the state thrive.
He added that the Chinese government is seeking efforts towards harmonizing and fostering economic growth between Nigeria and China.
“We seek harmony in coexistence, harmony in development. With the commissioning of this blue line, we can achieve a sustainable line of time, sustainable line of federal life,” he said.
He noted that the Chinese government has identified 15 specific projects, urging both countries to work together to develop their respective economies.
“We believe that in the coming years, we can achieve political consonance, economic cooperation, military and security collaboration, international affairs and people to People communication,” Jianchun stated.