Aminat Isah, Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has mandated the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to provide a complete railway station environment of the minor stations on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project in 28days and also ensure completion of at least one of the tracks up to Ebute Metta station by the end of November.
Amaechi who said the contractors have to triple their actions to cover for the rainy days while they take a little more time to complete the 4major ones gave the ultimatum during an inspection of the Kajorla-Ogun axis of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project on Monday, saying that the CCECC has failed to fulfill the promise of completing the stations by July.
“They said before the dissolution of the cabinet that, they were going to complete the stations in three months. May, June and July but we are here today in October and the station are not completed.
“You have refused to bring your materials in and we are not owning you one Kobo, we have paid everything so what is the problem! You (CCECC) gave three months to complete these buildings and now you are giving the excuse that your materials from China have not arrived.
“The reason we gave you the contract was for you to grow our local economy, but now you bring doors from China, you bring widows from China, you bring roofing sheets from China and if we are not careful, you will bring sand from China.
“next meeting Monday 25th November will hold here in a completed environment, not just here but most of the minor stations,” said Amaechi
Amaechi who defy the rain with his wife to carry out the inspection said the government hope to test-run and start free rides at the end of November so people travelling along the Lagos-Ibadan route during the end of year holiday season can enjoy the trains.
” we made promises to Nigerians and we must fulfil that promise, so the test running must start from Ebute Metta to Ibadan,” said Amaechi.
Amaechi further urged the CCECC to deploy more equipment and personnel to ensure timely completion of the stations and the project in general as well as ensure that quality and standard is maintained in the process of meeting deadline.
Responding on behalf of CCECC Engineer, Xia Liju said the company was sourcing materials for the construction of the stations locally and not porting, noting that the heavy rain was what hindered the construction of the stations and laying of tracks from Iju to Ebute Metta.
Speaking on On Kajola factory, Amaechi said “In signing the agreement between Nigeria and the Chinese company, we agreed with them that they should produce most of the materials they need locally and they said it would be a bit difficult for them. So we reached an agreement that they should start assembling wagons.
“Five years after that, they should start producing wagons and assembling coaches and locomotives and ten years after that, they should start producing locomotives and coaches here. Their argument is that if they produce, we will buy from them instead of buying from outside and I told them that we will enter into agreement to buy from them. That way, we will be able to pay naira and save the scarce dollars that we have.
“We are not contributing anything to the establishment of the factory and the transport university. It is their own investment. The implication is for them to look at the benefit. The assembling company, I must state belongs to the Chinese. The most important thing is that it creates employment and improve the economy which is our target at the end of the day,” said Amaechi
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