• Sunday, December 03, 2023
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Transport minister tasks CCECC to speed up Lagos-Ibadan rail project

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Nigeria’s  minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has expressed dismay on the slow  pace of work being handled by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail corridor especially from Abeokuta  in Ogun state to Ibadan in Our state.
The minister who disclosed this on Tuesday while inspecting the rail project alongside members of the House of Representatives, further stated that the target of the Federal Government was that by the end of January next year, the train service would also start operations in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Amechi frowned at a situation where the CCECC would want to finish from Lagos to Abeokuta  and then move their equipment to Ibadan.
“What I have done is to express my displeasure at the pace of work from Abeokuta to Ibadan”.
” Our expectation is that we have given them the period in which we think they can complete it. The same period that they applied from Iju to Abeokuta, if they apply the same speed in Abeokuta to Ibadan,  we will achieve the same result but the problem is that I suspect that they don’t want to spend more money on equipment. So I want a meeting between myself, the management of TEAM and CCECC when their managing director returns from Christmas break which is the first week in January
The minister however expressed hope that the ongoing construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project was steadily  coming to an end.
The project was being finalised as train ride would commence from Iju in Lagos State to Abeokuta in Ogun State by the first week of January 2019.
Amaechi said, “We are gradually coming to the end of the project because we are 6km away from Abeokuta and I have been assured, even though sometimes they may not keep to their promises, that we will be able to ride from Iju to Abeokuta at least by the first week of January.
“The idea is to bring the Vice-President and some ministers to join us in the ride. When we do the ride we will then allow passengers to use it up to Abeokuta. Our target is that by the end of the month we should get to Ibadan by rail.”
He further  stated that after the completion of the rail lines, the government would put on pressure the contractor handling the project to fully carry out work on the train stations.
According to the minister, “We can begin to put the pressure on them (contractors) to build the stations, for as you drive past the stations, you’ll see that they are working but they are slow because I’ve told them that emphasis should be on the tracks.
“In fact, I will tell them not to continue to build the two tracks, but to focus on one so that while we are using that one they can be building the second track. Because as they take the two, it’s slowing down the construction period.”
He said funding is not a challenge as” We paid them 100 percent of the counter part funding and at every point in time that they come to us, we sign and once we sign, China-Exim bank pays them.  So fund is not the issue. The issue is that we suspect that they are maximizing profit if not, why won’t they buy equipment for all the sections of the project.
 On his  part, the chairman house committee on land and Transportation, Abdulmumin Jibrin said the national assembly will continue to support the ministry  to see that the project is completed.
“When ever you have this magnitude of work going on, you must have issues but then with what is going on here the minister deserve commendation with all his team from my side we will continue to support the ministry to see that the project comes to completion.