President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to get to the root of the ongoing fuel scarcity, which jeopardized the celebration of the Christmas festivities.
Buhari made this vow in his 2018 New Year message to Nigerians.
“I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.
“Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity” Buhari said.
On infrastructure, he assured that they were going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.
According to the President, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
With regards to Railways, Buhari said his administration has set ambitious targets and already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.
He explained that this line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.
“Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.
“The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.
“At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri” he said.
President Buhari said 25 major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility, and each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b.
According to him, the major highwaysto receive special attention are Oyo – Ogbomosho, Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu, Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm, Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way and Onitsha – Enugu Expressway.
Others are Kaduna Eastern Bypass, dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road, Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road and dualization of Suleja – Minna Road