The National Council on Transportation has approved the commencement of a ‘bicycle riding’ project, as a means of transportation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this in Sokoto, on Monday, September 4th while speaking at the end of the 15th meeting of the National Council on Transportation which focused on ensuring faster cargo and passenger movements across the country with better intermodal transportation that will stabilize the economy.
The Federal Government is optimistic that the introduction of bicycles as a means of transportation would reduce congestion on the road and also improve the health of the riders. In Amaechi’s words:
“The National Council on Transportation is a policy making Council, if nothing else; we approved that we should do a pilot project on bicycle riding in FCT. This is because Abuja is the only city that has facility for bicycle riding.
“For other states who want to do it, we must provide facility before they can proceed with it; we want to separate them from the roads because some motorists are impatient.
“So, we decided that we do it in Abuja because if you check, nearly all the roads in Abuja, there are lanes for bicycle.
“Any other state that wants to go ahead can do that but they must provide lanes for bicycle so that we do not have numerous accidents.”
The Minister who described the project as an investment explained that using bicycles as a means of transportation was not new, citing examples of countries like China, UK and others who are already using it.
Rotimi Amaechi recalled that the tall mandate from President Muhammadu Buhari during his inauguration was to connect the country by rail by 2019.
In his keynote address, Amaechi disclosed that the ongoing massive construction across the country was to achieve that mandate, adding that the Federal Government was determined to accelerate the modernisation plans of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) by putting in place the standard gauge rail lines, while the old narrow gauge, which has served the country for about 117 years would continue to receive attention.
According to the Minister, the concession arrangement is already in place to see to the efficient management of the narrow and the standard gauges, with the former billed to take off before the end of the year.
He disclosed that the Federal Government is on the verge of signing an agreement with General Electric (GE) for the rehabilitation of rail lines across the country to ensure that they are put to use in the very shortest time. He added that the government has ordered more coaches and locomotives for the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge rail line.
According to him, Buhari has approved the construction of Abuja-Itakpe rail line, and at the same time preparing to begin commercial activity on the Ajaokuta-Warri line, which will be completed in June next year.
The NCT is the highest policy advisory body on transportation in the country. It is a yearly assembly of critical players, where policies guiding the public sector transportation are incubated and the timelines for implementation across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are fixed.