A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Aliyu Pategi, has urged the Federal Government to construct a modern railway line linking Abuja with Lagos.
Pategi, who represents Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal Constituency of Kwara State, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the need for the Federal Government to prioritise critical infrastructure needed to boost the economy necessitated the call.
While expressing concern over dearth of infrastructure in the country, Pategi said that lack of modern railway lines was putting much pressure on the roads and also discomforting commuters.
Pategi said that putting necessary infrastructure in place would save the cost of doing business in the country.
The lawmaker said that the construction of a modern railway line from Lagos to Abuja would reduce the travel time from 12 to four hours, reduce cost and the attendant loss of lives on major highways.
“One big problem Nigeria has is to do with the trailers that break up our roads.
“Can you imagine that the former capital city of Nigeria which is Lagos is not linked to Abuja by rail; so when the trailers leave Lagos port, they go to the northern part of the country through two routes.
“The Jebba and Lokoja bridges are the only two and a congregation of all the trailers led to destruction of the roads because the weight of the trailers is beyond the 45 tons capacity.
“A lot of the trailers are above 60 tons because they carry 900 bags so we need a systematic way of addressing this problem.
“Part of the way to address it is to shorten the travel time to reduce the attendant damage to our roads by removing these trailers and setting up a railway line along the Abuja- Ilorin-Lagos axis,’’ he said.
The bridge at Tatabu village along Mokwa-Jebba road recently collapsed due to heavy rainfall, thereby halting vehicular movement from both sides.
“It follows that both routes conveying traffic from Ilorin to Abuja and vice versa are not in the best motorable condition; thus commuters plying these roads have been doing so with enormous discomfort,’’ Pategi added.
The lawmaker, however, commended the Federal Ministry of Transportation for complying with the resolution of the house on a motion to dualise the 310 kilometer Ilorin-Abuja highway.
He noted that all the states of the federation that share border with the Federal Capital Territory had direct dualised road access to the capital city except Kwara.
Patigi explained that access to the capital city from Kwara was mainly through Bida in Niger and Lokoja in Kogi state.
“Both of which entails seven hours of commuting which can be cut down to about two and half hours, if a road is constructed from Ilorin through Okeoyi- Patigi –Kpada-Baro – Giri/airport junction in the FCT.’’
He said Federal Ministry of Transportation initiated a design for a rail line along Ilorin-Okeyi-Patigi-Baro-Giri/Airport road, Abuja for inclusion in its 2018 budget proposal.
“It is believed that the construction of the road will reduce the huge traffic competing for access on the existing road link between Ilorin and Abuja and cut down travel time to about two and half hours.’’
He added that the projects could be actualised if the government adopts the Public Private Partnership (PPP) as an alternative funding arrangement.
“I hope that some private companies will buy into this,’’ Pategi said.