Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has stated that the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project will be completed in April 2020 while the test-run of the train would commence by the end of November 2019.
Amaechi reiterated that with the pace at which the contractors were currently working, he was optimistic that the completion period would be achieved. He gave the hint on Saturday shortly after inspecting the project site in Ibadan, the Oyo State.
He said, “We are no longer giving ourselves the time, the contractors are the ones giving us time. By April next year, we should be out of this place. There is huge improvement compared to the last time we were here. The contractors have assured us that by 20th of December this year, the laying of tracks would have gotten to Ibadan Station. This means that the focus will no longer be on the tracks but on the completion of the stations, communication and signalling and once we achieve all that, it means we are out of Ibadan.”
According to him, “They are eager to complete the stations but the constraint at the moment is that the equipment have not arrived from China, and our argument is that they should get some things from Nigeria. They are expecting pipes and other things and they requested that we should give them one or two months to complete the stations. They equally wanted to import glasses and doors from China but we have to put pressure on them to buy those glasses and doors in Nigeria in other to quicken the time with which they would install.”
The Minister noted that completion of the Lagos-end of the project was a huge task as construction of new flyovers and over head bridges were progressing steadily.
“It is a big problem. We are dealing with urban renewal. We are building new flyovers, we are also building over head bridges and under passes, we are dealing with pipes and lots more. We pray not to experience these challenges in Ibadan to Kano segment of the project. Don’t forget that there are two contracts here. The first is Ebute-Metta to Ibadan, then, I came up with the idea of extending the project to the seaport, which is a bit challenging”, he said
He added that, “They can get up to Ebute-Metta in the next one month, but to get there without getting to Apapa seaport would amount to not achieving much, because we need to clear the gridlock in Apapa, and to achieve that, we need to get the tracks into the seaport, that way, cargoes will be loaded to wagons and transported up to Ibadan.”
At kilometre 8.9 Ilupeju, Mushin axis of the rail line, Amaechi said the safety of lives of people around rail lines must be put into consideration at all times. He, therefore, instructed that buildings close to the rail line be bought off, demolished and fenced out to create adequate space for the power line as well as protect the people living around there.
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