1.It gives me great pleasure to join His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, distinguished dignitaries and all esteemed guests on this splendid occasion, made even more significant by the fact that it is holding just days into the new year.

2.We take much encouragement from today’s Flag-Off and Commissioning of additional Locomotives and Coaches for the Abuja–Kaduna Train Service and the Commissioning of the Inland Dry Port Kaduna. Taken together, these two milestones represent a major step forward in our multi-directional drive to open up the economy and diversify the nation’s revenue base. It is a welcome development, particularly in this period of recovery; and is a pointer to providential economic winds for our country and her citizens in 2018.

3.It pleases me to note that the Kaduna Inland Dry Port is the first to go into operation out of seven ports being promoted by the Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC). Without doubt, this achievement is due to the collaboration of the Kaduna Dry Port Limited as the developers, the Kaduna State Government, and the Federal Government. It is also proof of what is possible when we come together, with determination, to create the enabling environment for economic activity and the infrastructural development needed to power our economy.

4.As part of the eighth National Assembly’s legislative economic agenda, we are always seeking the greater participation of the private sector and state governments in shaping the country’s economy. This Dry Port – the first of its kind in Nigeria – is a wonderful example of that increased participation, and the Kaduna State Government is to be commended on that front.

5.Indeed, this is worthy of emulation across board, and I urge other state governments to take a leaf from Kaduna, and create similar developments in their own domains, for economic growth and prosperity. We are committed to providing support for investments, and incentives that will boost investor confidence. As the Dry Port and the additional locomotives and coaches on the Abuja-Kaduna train service are commissioned today, therefore, it is appropriate to observe that Kaduna State is indeed open for business.

6.With the development of this 29,000 tonnes inland inter-modal terminal connected to a seaport – which is expected to double its capacity on completion – this region now boasts an economic hub serviced by road, rail and air. The potential impact of this on the region’s economy is immense. It would be further enhanced by the significant increase in the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line, bringing us closer to a more integrated transportation system for the country.

7.A hinterland port is particularly desirable in this location for its ability to open up the region for increased economic activity, development and growth. We welcome the positive economic impact on the northern states, and on trade with neighbouring countries in the West African sub-region.

8.The economic boost offered by this development cannot be over-emphasised, particularly with the challenges faced in this region – and the need to ensure that the benefits of economic recovery are felt by everyone. Our economic diversification objective is given an added fillip, too. The same goes for the region’s agricultural sector, making for better utilisation and dispatch of bumper harvests; and the opportunity to substitute food importation that currently costs the country up to 5 billion dollars in foreign exchange per annum. From now on, agricultural produce should be more easily transported to targeted markets, and agro-entrepreneurs will stand a better chance of profitable returns for their yield.

9.I also understand that with this flag-off, Kaduna State is set to become a major player in the production, processing and exportation of products such as ginger, sesame seeds and shea butter to countries far and wide. This is most heartening indeed. I firmly believe that if we can create economic opportunities for the people, we would be able to quell the roots of many societal problems confronting us.

10.Engaging the teeming ranks of the unemployed is key to banishing poverty, making for a happier and more prosperous populace. The 8th Senate takes very seriously the need to support and stimulate job creation, particularly for our youths. It gladdens my heart, therefore, to note that thousands of jobs will be created by the Kaduna Inland Dry Port over the next few years.

11.Of interest to all Nigerians is the fact that these two commissioning events today will positively impact the whole country, and so they are harbingers of progress for all. The increase in the number of coaches and locomotives on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line will lead to greater economic flow between the FCT and Kaduna State. It should also help reduce the pressure on housing and road transportation in and around Abuja. More people can choose to live in Kaduna and commute to work in Abuja with greater ease on the railway, making for more sustainability, especially in living costs, standard of living and work-life balance.

12.In the southern part of the country, considerable improvement is expected to be recorded in the port city of Lagos. For one, the pressure on the Apapa Ports will be greatly eased, lifting a good deal of the congestion experienced there, as well as bringing about a reduction in cargo bureaucracy and processing times. For motorists plying the busy Apapa Road in Lagos, the benefits will be unmissable, as traffic gridlock is expected to reduce. I daresay it is indeed national development, when an inland port in Kaduna has a direct and immediate impact in Lagos and other places.

13.Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this is an example of what we mean when we talk about delivering development to every corner of Nigeria, for greater inclusion, so that all citizens can partake in the dividends of democracy – and no one is left feeling marginalised. It is also how we will build a Nigeria where everyone sees a part for themselves, no matter which region of the country they happen to reside in.

14.Once again, I congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, the Honourable Minister of Transportation and the Kaduna Inland Dry Port Limited – on this achievement.

15.I also congratulate the people of Kaduna and all Nigerians. It is my hope that this is the beginning of a return to the golden days of Kaduna as a major centre of commerce and industry in this country.

Thank you.


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections