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Monday, July 15, 2024

Reopening of the Lagos-Kano railway line, important recovery for the economy – Group

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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 to the economy.

This was stated by the TDF in a statement jointly signed by its President, Danjuma Mohammed, and its Secretary, Wale Adedayo, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the commencement of service on the railway line was the culmination of the silent work of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to get things done with minimum effort.

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

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

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

He noted that apart from the Niger and Benue rivers, which were natural pivots in shaping Nigeria’s geopolitical circumstances, the Lagos-Kano railway line was an important connector for trade.

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He said it was also the main connector for political, economic and socio-cultural relations between the south and north of the country, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

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

This, he said, is especially due to the arrival of crude oil as a pillar of the country’s economy, to the detriment of the nation’s socioeconomic advancement.

“The abandonment of the Lagos-Kano railway line, which was due to the refusal of successive administrations to invest adequately in rail transport until former President Muhammadu Buhari took office, was the beginning of the decline of the Nigerian economy in the 1970s.

“However, fortunately, President Tinubu has taken a bold step to reverse the deteriorating situation by rehabilitating the Lagos-Kano railway line, among other infrastructure 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 restore the lost glory of socio-cultural interactions and integrations among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria,” he stated.

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

He added that the achievement of such an infrastructural feat resonated with the wisdom behind Tinubu’s decision to present a national budget with an overwhelming capital expenditure component in the 2024 Appropriations Bill.

He said the president’s significant achievement reinforced his position that he needed time, support and stability in the political system to place Nigeria in its place of honor among the courtesy of the great nations of the world.

The TDF urged the unions to seek reason with the Tinubu-led administration over the minimum wage crisis.

“We call on the leaders of the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to accept the Federal Government’s offer of a minimum wage of N62,000 and also desist from any further action capable of heating or destabilize the situation. government.

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

“This is because the trajectory of wage increases in Nigeria, from the 1974 Udoji Commission wage concession to date, shows that wage increases intrinsically amplify multidimensional inflation in the economy,” TDF added.

He called on organized labor to see itself as a partner in the federal government’s quest to expand the country’s economic base through massive investments in infrastructure.

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

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

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