Aminat Isah, Abuja
The Federal Government has revealed that Nigeria can transport about 30million Cargoes annually from Apapa Sea Port in Lagos State to other parts of the country with the completion of the ongoing construction of Standard Gauge Rail-line Projects across the country.
The Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this while inspecting ongoing construction work ongoing on the Apapa axis of the Lagos-Ibadan railline construction project, adding that the construction of standard gauge would put an end to challenges hindering the conveying of cargoes by train to the port.
“We are yet to construct the standard gauge. For now, standard gauge is not functioning to its capacity. Until these two things happen, you can’t move enough cargoes. Currently, we are having between two hundred and three hundred thousand tonnes of cargo in a year when you have thirty million tonnes of cargoes. So, if you have thirty million tonnes of cargoes, you have to make sure that the tracks function properly to move those cargoes,”
Speaking on the building of Bridges, Amaechi said some properties in the right of way would be demolished with their owners or leasees settled in order to avert future accidents that may occur as a result of closeness to the bridge.
“There are properties belonging to Nigeria Railway Corporation; and we have said that they should not just do valuation, they should also identify ownership of properties. If they have leased them out and they are legal, we have no choice than to pay. If the lease has expired, the owner has no choice but to hand over our properties to us. But we want to do an audit first.
“The land available for the Apapa railway station now is not enough. We should have a very wide space that we can see and say yes, this is a station than to have buildings crossing the front of the station. That’s why we want to see that everything is done properly,”
Amaechi further said China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC), the construction company handling the project is building bridges that were stipulated in the plan and are also doing the pipe laying and drainages.
“Those are minor civil works. But the main work has not been done. The civil work from Lagos will get to Ibadan by the end of this month. Once they get to Ibadan, they will come back to Iju and work to Ebute-Metta and from Ebute-Meta to Apapa.
Amaechi explained that there are two bridges to be demolish in Lagos, the bridge at jibowu and the other one in Costain, adding that the contractors have to finish construction before demolish can be done.
” Because Lagos is such a heavy economy that if you demolish without first of all constructing the alternative bridges you cause serious crisis with the traffic. So, we will first finish construction before we demolish the Jibowu Bridge. They have commenced with Costain; when they finish with the construction and get the traffic relieved, then we demolish the old bridge,” said Amaechi