The Lagos-Ibadan Standard Guage Rail line deadline has been fixed for December, 2020, considering the progress made by project handler, China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation, CCECC.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi made this known while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital at the end of his monthly routine inspection of the project, which commenced in Ebute-Metta in Lagos in company of other management staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
Amaechi said that there had been some improvements and progress in the construction railways stations along the line.
The Transport Minister disclosed that in some of the 10 stations along the line, the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has finished doors, windows, rooting, flooring, ceiling and lighting.
“Olodo (station) is just nearing the completion. At Kajola, what is outstanding is just painting. There are changes at Ebute-Metta. There was improvement in Kajola, Olodo, Ebute-Metta though not to the extend that I expect that it should be.
“They have given us the target, by the end of September, three stations will be ready, by the end of October all the minor stations will be ready, that is six stations. By the end of December, every station will be ready.
“The only one station they (CCECC) are afraid of is Apapa station because they started very late but I insisted that Apapa should be completed at the same time as the rest,” he said.
The minister said that he had assured the contractor of provision of a task force to help the speedy completion of Apapa station, adding that he would come to assess the work at the end of September.
He expressed optimism that everything would be put in place before the end of December for movement to passengers and goods.
“Time line has not changed. Did they meet my target? The answer is no. My target was before we come on Sept 15 for inspection, they should have finished all the minor stations,” he added.
According to him, the excuse given by the contractor was that they didn’t have enough engineers to supervise because of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The same engineer supervising Agbado supervise Agege. That is slowing them down. For me that is not an excuse.
“I want this work done quickly because I want to move out of this place.
“Their position is that by next week more engineers are coming, we expect them to isolate for seven days and work will commence. Once, work commences, they will be faster,” the minister added.
On the Oshodi train accident on Monday, Amaechi who described as unfortunate the loss of two lives, urged motorists to be careful on rail track.
Amaechi decried trading activities along the rail track.
He said that there must be enforcement of law and the government would fence the Lagos corridor to prevent people from trading and playing on the rail track.
On allegation of train attack along Abuja-Kaduna Standard Guage, Amaechi said that the news was not true.
On what next after the project, the minister said that apart from Ibadan to Kano rail line, the ministry had sent to the cabinet for approval of the award of two railway contracts.
According the him, the contract is Port Harcourt-Onne Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi railway and Lagos to Calabar.
On the inauguration of Itakpe-Warri railway, the minister said that the President was ready.
Speaking on the commencement of skeletal operations on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, the Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria said that the corporation was still discussing with the contractor on when to commence.
Okhiria maintained that the rolling stocks had been delivered but the corporation was discussing some modalities including safety.
According to him, the NRC has not fixed any date for the skeletal commercial operation.
It could be recalled that though the track laying from Ebute-Metta in Lagos to Ibadan in Oyo State had been completed, the 10 stations along the line were at various level of completion.
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