LAGOS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The first phase of a China-built electric-powered light rail project in Nigeria's southwestern state of Lagos was officially open for service on Tuesday.
Undertaken by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) since 2010, the completed tracks of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Blue Line project span 13 km in the first phase and cover five stations.
The LRMT Blue Line project is the first rail infrastructure traversing Okokomaiko, a densely populated area in the western part of Lagos, and Marina, a business district on Lagos Island.
Speaking at a banquet held by the Lagos state government before the inauguration ceremony, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari described the project as "historic," noting that the rail will reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as improve the lives of locals.
The president also attended the contract signing ceremony for the construction of the second phase of the LRMT Blue Line project by the Lagos metropolitan area transport authority and the CCECC.
Cui Jianchun, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, said the completion of the first phase of the project demonstrated the harmony of China-Nigeria relations.
"It is a line of speed, line of sustainability, line of harmony," Cui said.
The new light rail would reduce travel time, improve the quality of life of citizens and make Lagos one of the most resilient megacities in Africa that would compete favorably with other cities around the world, said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos.
The iconic Marina Station has the capacity to process about 25,000 passengers per hour, Sanwo-Olu added.
Construction of the first phase of the Lagos Blue Line project started in July 2010 and was completed in December 2022.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service