Reopening of Lagos-Kano railway line, major rebound for economy – Group

“The resumption of transport operations on the Lagos-Kano railway route would drastically reduce the rising cost of food,” the group said.

The Democratic Front (TDF), a pro-democracy group, has described the repair and reopening of the Lagos-Kano railway line for freight operations as a major boost for the economy.

The TDF said this in a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Danjuma Mohammed, and secretary, Wale Adedayo, on Tuesday in Abuja.

It said the start of service on the railway line was the culmination of silent work by the President Bola Tinubu administration to get things done with minimum fuss.

“We laud and celebrate the completion of repair works and reopening of the long-abandoned Lagos-Kano railway line by the administration of President Tinubu.

“Our joy and excitement can only be understood within the context of the memorable contributions of the 1,132km railway line to the economic, social, political, and cultural development of Nigeria.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the iconic railway line was the bedrock of Nigeria’s cash crop exports to the outside world under the colonial administrations from 1898 to decades after the country’s independence in October 1960,” the statement recalled.

It noted that aside from the Rivers Niger and Benue, which were natural pivots in the making of Nigeria’s geo-political circumstances, the Lagos-Kano railway line was a major connector for trade.

It said it was also the major connector for political, economic, and socio-cultural relationships between the South and the Northern parts of the country, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The TDF said it was, however, sad that successive administrations neglected such a critical transport infrastructure and abandoned it for years of decay.

This, it said, was especially at the advent of crude oil as the mainstay of the country’s economy, to the detriment of the nation’s socio-economic advancement.

“The abandonment of the Lagos-Kano railway line, which stems from the refusal of successive administrations to invest adequately in railway transportation until former President Muhammadu Buhari came onboard, was the beginning of the decline of Nigeria’s economy of the 1970s.

“Happily, though, President Tinubu has taken a bold step to reverse the declining situation by rehabilitating the Lagos-Kano railway line, among other infrastructural projects, to boost food supply and revive the ailing economy.

“We are convinced that the resumption of transport operations on the Lagos-Kano railway route will bring back the lost glory of socio-cultural interactions and integrations among the diverse ethnic groups of Nigeria,” it said.

The group also noted that the development would drastically reduce the rising cost of food and help resuscitate all dead or epileptic economic activities in markets and communities along the rail route.

It added that the accomplishment of such an infrastructural feat resonated with the wisdom behind Mr. Tinubu’s decision to present a national budget of overwhelming capital expenditure component in the 2024 appropriation Act.

It said the major achievement by the president reinforced its position that he needed time, support, and stability in the polity to put Nigeria in her pride of place among the comity of great nations of the world.

The TDF urged the organized labor to see reasons with the Tinubu-led administration on the minimum wage crisis.

“We appeal to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to accept the Federal Government’s offer of an N62,000 minimum wage, and also desist from any further action capable of heating up or destabilizing the polity.

“As a responsible organization, we are not averse to the need for a wage increase for Nigerian workers. However, it is our opinion that wages should be increased only as an incentive for efficiency, effectiveness, and upward productivity, not as a factor for mitigating the effects of inflation in the country.

“This is because the trajectory of wage increases in Nigeria, from the salary award of the Udoji Commission of 1974 till date, shows that wage and salary increase intrinsically amplify multi-dimensional inflation in the economy,” TDF added.

It charged organized labor to see itself as a partner in the Federal Government’s quest to expand the economic base of the country through massive investments in infrastructure.

NAN reports that the Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway is a 1,343km standard gauge railway. The rail will connect the port city of Lagos to Kano.

The railway replaces the Cape gauge Western Line built by the British in 1896–1927, which has a lower design capacity.

Source: Premium Times

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