Aminat Isah, Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has expressed mixed feelings over the feasibility of the April completion date set for the Lagos-Ibadan railway project given by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The Minister at the inspection of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line on Monday gave an expression of uncertainty due to the slow pace of work on some sections of the projects, with several excuses given by CCECC on the quantum of work yet to be done.
The Minister as a result revealed that invitations has been sent to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders involved in ensuring speedy completion of the project to address issues slowing down the rail project.
“All sorts of excuses, I have asked to meet with management of NPA on Thursday or Friday to resolve those issues. Again, the second excuse they have is that their (CCECC) vessels are at the seaport, they cannot even berth because of the long queue and the crisis of congestion. So, we will address it with NPA. Everybody will be at the meeting”, he said.
Amaechi however, noted that efforts would be redouble to ensure that the project set target is met, saying that rail tracks were 100 per cent completed on the first contract, which is from Ebute Meta to Ibadan.
While the five to six kilometres tracks on the second contract from Ebute Meta to Apapa Sea Port was not completed, due to the gridlock affecting movement of construction materials due to the urban nature of Lagos, as well as several utilities in the Right of Way of the project.
” We have a lot of demolition to do, you have to deal with pipes, you have to deal with oil pipes even when you get to the sea port but in terms of tracks from agege to Ibadan, it was smooth,” the minister said.
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde who was on the entourage of the Minister expressed satisfaction on the work done so far.
According to Makinde, “the rail project will boost the economy of Oyo state and the nation as a whole, as well as decongest Lagos.
” For us in Oyo state, it is a wake up call because the track is already here. So, we need to brace up ourselves with what we have to do as a state government so that the handshake can seamless and everything can be done smoothly.
” In the areas of employment, some companies might decide to come set up in Ibadan. Good produced can come straight from Apapa port straight to Ibadan dry-port. So, we see a lot of social and economic benefit with this rail. Those who fear travelling by road will embrace this new initiative”.
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