The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, says the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd)-led administration has laid the foundation for a 25-year infrastructure plan for the country.
Sambo said this in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Dr Sam Idiagbonya, on Saturday in Abuja.
He said the infrastructure plan, built on a 25-year railway modernisation programme, essentially features programmes that will ensure that every state capital is linked by rail.
“I don’t have to tell you the advantages that railway brings so by the time that plan is achieved, the whole country will have been connected.
“Already, we have the Eastern line. It’s been rehabilitated from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri: We have the western line from Lagos to Kano, the narrow gauge is operational and the new standard gauge, Lagos-Ibadan which we are on now is already operational.
“Abuja-Kaduna is operational, Kaduna-Kano is being constructed and other sections and stations are also being constructed.
“Now we have the central line running from Warri to Itakpe, which is operational and ultimately that same line will also link up with Abuja. So that if you live in Delta State, you want to come to Abuja, you have no business going by air or road.
“At the end of the day, the entire country will have been connected by a network of railways that will make life easier for passengers’ movement in large volumes and movement of goods,” he said.
According to the Minister, railway Infrastructure is a bedrock of social economic development and the next administration should build up on what the present government is doing.
He revealed that a ministerial retreat was also recently held to score the performance and the mandates given to each ministry.
”The essential features of this retreat is to review performances and see what has been achieved and also lay the foundation for a transition for the incoming government.
”By the way, the President has made it very clear that this government will work every day until May 29, 2023.” he said.
Speaking on linking the railway to the ports, Sambo said he recently visited the Comptroller General of Customs to deliberate on several issues of concern to the Ministry, particularly the Apapa ports.
According to Sambo, government is continuous and it is important that a transition plan is put in place for subsequent administrations to build on what the present administration is doing.
He said, “When the Buhari administration came to power, there was no transition plan from the PDP government. There was nothing at all to build upon and we felt it was wrong, we needed to correct it as part of governance.
“Even if you are handing over to an opposition party, give them something to build upon. Government is continuous. So you must prepare for the next coming government.”
The Minister further urged Nigerians to ignore sentiments and commend President Buhari for his commitment to infrastructure development.
Sambo said politics should be set aside and honour should be given to whom it’s due, especially as the present administration had completed almost all projects abandoned by previous administrations.
He added that the Buhari-led administration had improved the security architecture of the country and also the revenue-generating power compared to what the last administration did.
“Before this present administration, a lot of communities in the North were under the control of terrorists but look at it now. Business is back to normal and there is peace.
“Then we would come down from our vehicles and raise our hands while passing by military checkpoints. It’s been a long time since we had incidents of such now.
“You see, we cannot live without challenges but the ability of government to respond to challenges in the interest of the citizens is what is paramount and why shouldn’t we be appreciated,” he said.