By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled phase one of the Blue Line Rail of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) initiative.
The 13km line (phase one) runs from Marina to Mile 2, with five stations of Mile 2, Alaba, Iganmu, National Theatre and Marina.
Buhari also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the second phase which will run from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.
The 27km Blue Line rail route is one of the six metro lines identified in the LRMT master plan ad contained in the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP). It will run from Marina to Okokomaiko. Others in the STMP are the Red Line (Agbado-Oyingbo/Marina); Green line (Marina to Epe); Orange Line (Redeemed Camp-Marina); Purple line (Redeemed Camp-Ojo); Orange Line and Yellow Line (Sango Ota-Iddo).
The iconic Marina station, being the largest train hub in Africa, is 240 metres long, and equipped with two concourses of 12 turnstiles each with a processing capacity of 480 passengers per minute and over 24,000 per hour. Travel time on the Marina – Mile 2 route is about 15 minutes. It will be powered by high voltage electricity (750VA).
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his remarks, thanked President Buhari ‘for honouring us with a two-day official visit to Lagos State’.
According to him, the state has enjoyed great support since Buhari became president.
He said: “President, we are very proud to be associated with your bold national vision for infrastructural transformation. We would also like to pay special tribute to the architect of Modern Lagos, who is also the presidential
candidate of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and by the
special grace of God, a most worthy successor to you, Mr. President – our Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom.”
“This Blue Line we are opening a today is the product of his timeless vision for Lagos State, a vision that dates back almost 25 years, when he took over the reins of leadership in
Lagos State. One of his greatest legacies was developing a comprehensive road map for the future of Lagos State; one that laid out very clearly the pathway to a modern, prosperous, and globally competitive megacity.
“The Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) envisioned six metro lines, of which the 27km Blue Line, running from Marina to Okokomaiko, is first.
“President, this Line is 13km long, and the first Phase of a 27km line. This Phase 1 runs from Marina to Mile 2, across five stations of Marina, National Theatre, Iganmu, Alaba, and
Orile, and is expected to cover that distance in less than 15 minutes, compared with the rush-hour time of 2.5 hours if undertaken by road. The benefits are obvious, and unquantifiable – a more efficient transport service that improves the quality of life of Lagosians, frees up more of their time, reduces the pressure on the roads, and contributes to Nigeria’s lofty climate action obligations.
“This Blue Line rail system will be powered end-to-end by high voltage electricity, to be supplied by a dedicated IPP, as well as back-up systems. What this means is that the operation of this Line will leave zero carbon emission impact on the environment.
“This iconic Marina Station that is hosting us today will be the largest and busiest train hub in Africa, with a capacity to process as many as 400 passengers per minute, translating into 24,000 passengers every hour. When Phase 1 starts running fully, we envisage that it will transport a quarter of a million Lagosians daily, rising to half a million daily when the entire corridor is completed.”
“Mr. President, I thank you for the Federal Government’s support on this project and many others. You have made our work administering Lagos much easier in many ways, and we will eternally be grateful to you for this.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also promised that the Red Line will be ready and opened before end of July.
Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat, in his welcome address, recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu, Speaker of the House of Assembly Mudashiru Obasa and some others took a test run of the train last December.
He noted: “Coincidentally, Marina, where we are making history today, is central to our integrated multimodal transport system, being a melting pot for all the transportation modes.
“The excitement, no doubt, is justifiable, considering the fact that this project will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear state on the same pedestal as others of its stature. The people come first in all that we do. They are the bedrock of our government. This project is, therefore, all about them. And that is what governance is all about….”
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, who hailed the government for the initiative, noted that the project is a proof of three things – Lagos as a great city; time is money, and Lagos understands the essence and importance of time since the train will reduce travel time considerably.
The ambassador promised that his country will continue to uphold the harmony in diversity, integration and development which characterises the relationship between Nigeria and his home country.
Dignitaries at the event were Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare; members of the State Executive Council, members of the state House of Assembly, royal fathers -Oniru of Iruland, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal; Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi; Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRosheed Akanbi; lawmakers, former Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Hakeem Odumosu, former Lagos APC Chairman, Tunde Balogun, among others.