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Tinubu opens Red Line, says ‘Lagos an example of how vision exalts democracy’

•‘Rail accomplishments, results of our painstaking reforms’ — Sanwo-Olu

•LAMATA, Chinese Engineering firm sign new rail development contract

Lagos welcomed a new intra-city metro line — the second sub national rail infrastructure to be completed and opened by the State within a space of one year.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Thursday, formally inaugurated the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line delivered by the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to give urban commuters a new transport option within the nation’s economic metropolis.

The first phase of the 37-kilometre rail line, constructed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), was commissioned with seven stations built along its corridor, traversing Agbado — a boundary town in Ogun State — to Oyingbo in Lagos Central.

The Red Line was inaugurated exactly 12 months after the State’s first light rail — Blue Line — was inaugurated by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The 13-kilometres project, started by ex-Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, traverses five stations between Mile 2 and Marina.

The delightful atmosphere that enveloped the Ikeja mega station for the inaugural ride in the Red Line train, Thursday, bore testimony to the excitement generated among the residents to welcome the second intra-city rail network.

Six Governors, led by the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, were among the first set of passengers who joined the President and Gov. Sanwo-Olu in a ride on the train.

The historic event was also witnessed by members of the Federal Executive Council, Lagos cabinet members, business leaders, members of the diplomatic community, political leaders, traditional rulers, traders and students.

Tinubu walked into the venue resplendent with joy, as he witnessed his vision of the intermodal transport ecosystem becoming a reality and bearing good dividends for citizens of his home State.

The President conveyed his commendation to Gov. Sanwo-Olu for the “giant stride” and for his faith in the State’s strategic development blueprint passed down to successive governments in the State by the Tinubu-led administration in Lagos.

Tinubu said the Red Line inauguration marked another milestone in the State’s infrastructural progress, noting that the delivery of the project further validated his belief that democracy would work in society where leaders showed dedication to governance vision.

The President observed that Lagos stood out as shining example of working democracy because its leadership made people’s welfare the central priority of its overarching vision and planning.

He said: “Today, we are gathered for the inauguration of the second of the six rail lines planned in our strategic transportation master plan. I commend the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Babajide Sanwo-Olu for this giant stride. He was part of this vision some 20 years ago, running around the world to look at working systems and come up with ideas to replicate here.

“I am delighted that we are inaugurating the first phase of the Red Line. Today is a day to be remembered for the infrastructural progress of our country, particularly Lagos. LAMATA has demonstrated that agency can work for people if it is guided by a vision and commitment to noble values. Much work still needs to be done in fostering strong working partnership between between Federal Government and State Governments.

“We thank Lagosians and our political leaders in the State for believing in us. We said we can do it, you believed in us. We said we would be focused on the people, you believed in us. We said our efforts would end up in making people’s lives better, you believed in us. The progress of Lagos over the last 24 years is a constant reminder that true change is possible.”

Tinubu said the history of the State would be kind to everyone involved in infrastructural transformation witnessed in Lagos, noting that any deviation from State’s development master plan could derail the progress. He urged the State’s leadership to persevere in the face of opposition to the ideas, while staying focused on the goals.

Sanwo-Olu described the ceremony as a “culmination of long, painstaking journey” of reforms in the transportation sector of the State, stressing that the commissioning of the rail system, once again, breathed life into Tinubu’s vision of integrated transport connectivity.

The Governor said the Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) of Lagos outlined six integrated rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT

corridors, over 20 water routes, and a vast network of major and inner roads.

Two of the rail lines had been completed, he said, acknowledging the contributions of his predecessors — Fashola, and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode — towards the accomplishment of the State’s rail projects.

He said: “Today, we mark a historic milestone in the annals of Lagos and indeed, our nation, with the commissioning of the Red Line, a 37-km marvel of modern engineering that stretches from Agbado in Ogun State to the iconic National Theatre in Iganmu. The segment we are inaugurating today spans an impressive 27-km from Agbado to Oyingbo, featuring state-of-the-art stations at Agbado, Iju, Agege, Ikeja, Oshodi, Mushin, Yaba, and Oyingbo.

“For the first time in the history of Lagos, we have a system comprising and integrating all three modes of transportation: road, rail and waterways. We started construction of the rail infrastructure mid-2021, and I am happy that our administration has been able to complete for operations. At full capacity this first phase of the Red Line will transport 250,000 passengers daily, which will grow to 750,000 passengers daily when we have the full complement of rolling stock on the line.”

Prior to the Red Line inauguration, Sanwo-Olu, in successive months, commissioned five separate T-shaped bridges built by the State Government along the rail corridor to limit vehicular interference on the tracks.

Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said Lagos became the first sub national in Africa to fund rail projects from its balance sheet, noting that the Red Line was commissioned exactly 1,050 days after its construction groundbreaking was performed.

At the ceremony, LAMATA and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) signed agreement contract for the construction of the Phase Two of the Red Line, which will extend the project to Marina and National Theatre stations of the Blue Line.

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