THE long awaited Ajaokuta, Kogi State/Aladja, Delta State standard gauge rail line has been completed and ready for passengers use as it becomes the first standard gauge rail line in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
The Minister of Information, Mr.Labaran Maku, said the rail line, which was originally designed for the steel industry, has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan.
Mr. Maku, who was in Warri at the weekend in continuation of the Good Government Tour of Delta State, led members of his team, state government fuctionaries and journalists on a test run of the world class rail line.
The test run was undertaken at Agbarho, Ughelli North Area axis of the rail line.
“This line is ready for use. It was originally designed for our steel industry. It has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan. So you can see that this work has been completed by this administration.”
“We now have a standard rail gauge, the first in Nigeria and also in West Africa. The only other standard gauge rail that is being developed now is between Abuja and Kaduna,” Maku said.
He said that the Federal Government has also awarded a standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan which is being handled by a Chinese company, adding that the intention of President Goodluck Jonathan is to inter-link the standard gauge line with the one a consulting firm is designing between Lagos, Ibadan, Oshogbo, up to Abuja.
“It will inter-link with this and also goes with the one heading to Kaduna and eventually Kano. The other standard gauge line is the one that will branch-off from Lagos line to Benin linking up with this one (Ajaokuta/Aladja line) crossing the South-South and going right to Calabar. There is also a tip-off from Benin which will go all the way to Onitsha and South-East,” he said.
The Minister therefore, charged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to quickly utilize the golden opportunity by giving Nigerians a standard gauge couch which will move between the South-South and North Central.