Following the official flag-off ceremony for commercial operations of the 185km Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail project, on Tuesday, in Abuja, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari, saying “We are excited that President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned our project.”
The PDP which took to its verified Twitter handle @PdpNigeria to hail President Buhari said: “We congratulate @NGRPresident of the commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line and flagging off of commercial operations on it.
“We congratulate the people of Nigeria who can enjoy the benefits of this revolutionary service. “We must commend former President Goodluck Jonathan for the conceptualisation of the project as a standard gauge rail line. We sincerely hope the project fulfils the dreams he had of greater integration between the cities of Abuja & Kaduna.
“We also commend former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the work put into the structure of the project. It is important to note that the structure of this project ensured that it didn’t suffer the fate of many projects before it which are abandoned by successive administrations.
“The 185 km Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line is one of the first standard gauge rail lines in Nigeria and was constructed by China Civil Engineering & Construction Company (CCECC).
“The project features cargo and passenger trains. 4000 people were employed during construction & at inception, the project was projected to employ 5000 people for its operations.
“Passenger trains on the line can operate for speeds of up to 200kms per hour while cargo trains can travel at speeds up to 150kms per hour. “Travel time between the two cities will be 1hr & 1hr30mins for passenger and cargo trains respectively.
“The rail line has nine stations and costs $874million. Of this figure, $500million was provided by the China Exim Bank as a concessionary loan while the Jonathan administration paid $374million as counterpart funding. “The rail line included the construction of 30 railway bridges, including five box bridges. Construction on the rail line commenced in February 2011 and ended in December 2014. The nine stations were in advanced stages of completion when the Jonathan admininistration handed over.
“This project is the first in a series of developmental projects conceptualised and initiated by the Jonathan administration.” “Others that will soon be completed include the new terminals at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. God bless Nigeria,” the party said in a series of tweets on Tuesday.