Oru Leonard/ Joy Agada
Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Ministry is only waiting for the presidency to fix a date for the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway.
The Minister said this while addressing Journaliists during the routine inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project on Saturday, April 10, 2021. He also frowned at the slow pace of work on the project which was billed to be commissioned this April, 2021.
“We are trying to get appointment from the office of the President for the date of commissioning. Once they give us date we will make the public know. There a lot of things involved in bringing the President to commission the project.
” If you look at the current level of work we cannot ask the President to commission this, but once we give CCECC definite time, I know they will speed up. There are some minor things they still need to put in place but it is taking them time to do that, some of those things should not take more than a day or two to put in place so am not so worried, he said.
He also asked the contractors to increase the car parking space for future convinience.” If there is surge in passengers there would be enough space for parking”.
He also urged the technical committee to resolve the cases of possible flooding of low areas and request of the Ajegunle community for an overpass, though he argued that the FG cannot be building overpasses everywhere.
“During the raining season we will observe where the construction has led to flooding as citizens that have given us land must enjoy the sacrifice they made and when it happens we will correct those mistakes”.
On the issue of the Apapa port and the blockage of the track, “I have asked the Permanent Secretary to discuss with the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), as tanker drivers have disrupted the movement of train into the port and we have to stop them now, or we stop the owner of that terminal” .
The Minister was however miffed at the slow pace of work by the contractors since resuming from the COVID-19 disruption.
Amaechi said “at this point we can say to ourselves that we have tried in converting a bush into a usage that will grow the Nigerian economy. For CCECC, I am sick and tired of their pace of work and that is why I have asked them to see us on Wednesday, although most of the things remaining are minor and it cannot delay the movement of goods. They have promised to finish by the end of the month, okay, I believe them but I want them to reiterate that.
“The team has also always complained that they do not go by their own work plan. However, this must not be repeated on the Ibadan to Kano project. Everybody must go according to work plan both in terms of payment, construction, inspection and everything.
On the Ibadan – Kano project, he explained that though the FG is ready with its counterpart funding, it is waiting for China Exim Bank to disburse the loan that has been approved.
The inspection began Apapa in Lagos State and ended in Ibadan, Oyo State as the minister stop at all the train stations to access facilities under construction.