PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commended Lagos State Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for the development he had brought to the state in the space of three years.
Buhari gave the commendation while inaugurating the Ikeja Bus Terminal, shortly after arriving in the state for a two-day official visit.
The president, in his brief remarks during the ceremony, lauded Ambode for his reform in the area of public transportation.
Buhari said that the Federal Government, on its part, would adhere to its plan for the ports and other transport infrastructure in the country.
He also reiterated his administration’s commitment to tackling security challenges, stabilising the economy, creating an enabling environment for jobs and returning Nigeria to its pride of place in the comity of nations.
In his remarks, Ambode specially thanked President Buhari for waiving the import duty on the five thousand air-conditioned buses which would be operated from the terminal.
He said the state looked forward to having an assembly plant for the buses in the next 20 months.
Ambode said his administration was committed to improving public transport infrastructure and management.
He said with the state’s bus reform project, 5,000 new buses would be introduced in the next three years.
According to him, 820 environmentally-friendly high-capacity buses, in the first phase, are expected by September.
In an address of welcome, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya, said the terminal was part of the bus reform initiative, based on recommendations of the 2015 Lagos Transport Summit.
The terminal has a concourse for arrival, ticketing, waiting and departure areas, loading bay, ATM gallery as well as food court and parking facilities.
It is designed to change the face of public transportation and will convey more than 200,000 passengers daily to over 22 destinations across the state.
The facility, which is sitting on 10,000 square metre-land space, is equipped with Intelligent Transport System (ITS), free Wi-Fi and electronically controlled shades, among others.
Through the ITS, intending passengers can be informed of the departure time and arrival of the next bus, which allows them to plan their movement.
The facility was designed and constructed by Planet Projects, an indigenous construction firm.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president had earlier arrived at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, to begin the visit to the state, amidst tight security.
The president’s plane landed at about 9.30 a.m at the Presidential Wing of the airport.
Buhari was welcomed by Ambode and top officers of the various security outfits at the airport, including the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs Service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
He inspected a ceremonial guard of honour at the Presidential Wing before proceeding to the Ikeja Bus Terminus for the inauguration.
The president returned to the airport later and proceeded to Lagos Island via a chopper to attend a colloquium in honour of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
NAN reports that security operatives immediately re-opened access to the general aviation terminal of the airport which was earlier barricaded, shortly after the departure of the president for the colloquium.
Buhari received a rousing welcome from some Nigerians who lined up on the airport road to catch a glimpse of him.
The crowd chanted “Sai Baba ”, as the president’s motorcade made its way back to the airport after the inauguration of the bus terminal.