- Rotimi Amaechi toured the Lagos-Ibadan railway recently
- The tour is a routine monthly inspection of the transportation minister to ensure the project is delivered on time
- The minister, however, expressed concerns about the slow pace of work on the project
Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is sticking religiously to his monthly inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan railway.
The Rivers-born minister, who has been piling pressure on the contractors to deliver the project on time, recently expressed concern about the slow pace of work at the sites.
Legit.ng observed that despite the massive work ongoing in the area, the contractors are yet to lay the tracks for the project in many areas, a situation the minister is not happy about.
More than 8,000 workers have been mobilised to the various sites by the contractor - China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
When completed, the project will consist of 10 stations, 24 million square meters of earthwork, 314km main rail (double track), 60 kilometers station rail and 1.2 million cubic meters of ballast. The 10 stations are in Apapa Harbour, Ebute Metta, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Olodo, Omi Adio and Ibadan, the final stop from Lagos.
Amaechi, however, explained that the slow pace of work was due to the rains, adding that the CCECC, had assured him that work would speed up once the rains abated.
When asked if he was satisfied with the pace of work on the project, the minister replied, “No, I am not satisfied. But they have a reason. The problem is the rain. The work is progressing. You will agree with us that we are progressing. The problem is the rain. There is no way they would have gone extra with the rains.
“At the meeting, they agreed that now that the rains are stopping, there will be improvement. Their fear, however, is that in the next one or two weeks, the rains may come but immediately after that, the work will pick up faster. One and a half years is the original time for the construction of the stations but we have insisted that they will finish it before December."
The minister said rail tracks had been laid through a distance of about 12kilometers, but stressed that he was not impressed with this development.
His words: “They (CCECC) have been able to lay 12kilometers, as against the 1.3kilometers that was laid the last time we visited. We are still not impressed with the level of work. Their argument is that the track laying is not the problem as they can lay as many tracks as possible any day. They said the problem is earthwork. They said if the rains stopped, they could conclude the earthwork which is at 90 per cent.
“The remaining 10 per cent is between Iju to Ajaokuta. They said if the rains stopped, they would finish the remaining 10 per cent faster. They also said by the end of September, they would have finished all the bridges between Iju and Ajeokuta but we are pushing that the contract is between Ebute Meta and Ibadan and should be finished by December.”
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The minister added that the project - a deal with China - costs $1.6billion of which the federal government had already paid N72 billion counterpart funding.
Negotiations for the funding of the project kicked off following President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to China in 2016.
Legit.ng checks revealed that construction of the project commenced in 2017, after the flag-off by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in March 2017, while track-laying commenced in 2018.
It is part of President Buhari’s vision to connect all 36 states in Nigeria by rail. It is also part of the Lagos-Kano Rail line that will form the western section of Nigeria’s national standard gauge rail network.
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