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A Case for High-Speed Rail Development in Nigeria

Nigeria is interconnected by about 108,000 kilometers of surface road and almost 4000 kilometers of rail. The problem is while it has the largest road network in West Africa, large portions of the network are prone to spoilage due to overuse. Nigerian railway, on the other hand, has been near-moribund since the early 1990s.

Almost 75 percent of food grown in Nigeria’s hinterland are prone to spoilage due to the long hours spent conveying goods to commercial centres like Lagos and Port Harcourt; making food relatively expensive compared to if more food could be transported faster across the country.

Nigeria has housing problems particularly in the urban centres like Lagos and Abuja arising from exorbitant rents exacted by landlords due massive rural-urban migration.

With high-speed rail, all of these problems can be solved, as people and goods can be moved more swiftly which in turn, could improve Nigeria’s Human development Index, Gross Domestic Product per capita and general living standards in far reaching ways.

With high-speed rail, people like me can afford to live in decent yet affordable suburbs and work in the commercial centres without having to spend six to eight hours which is the average commute time for a worker in Lagos. Less time on the road will help many like me build stronger families and indeed a better society because I will get to be with my family in less time than if there was no high-speed rail and I have to travel by road as I now do.

High-speed rail will help build stronger local communities as many amenities we have become so accustomed to on the commercial hubs will be made available through better local community partnerships with the local governments and a more effective taxation.

High-speed rail will lower housing cost significantly in the urban centres allowing the middle class to swell with more disposable income and an ever improved velocity of money to allow for economic prosperity.

To this end, I have started a petition on change.org to the President of Nigeria and the 8th National Assembly to propose and legislate appropriation for the development of High-Speed Rail across Nigeria. What you can do for me is sign it.

Thank you and God bless Nigeria.

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Nehikhare Omotayo Igbinijesu is an Economist, Poet, and Social Entrepreneur. 'He is the author of The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women' and 'Marriage: 12 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Say, “I Do”'. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Akudo and two sons. He is Co-founder of Stuffsilos.com, a motivational resources company based in Lagos. You can email him via nehijesu [at] yahoo.co.uk

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