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‘Equipment pilfering hindering Iju-Apapa rail project’

…Getting to Apapa seaport a priority, says Amaechi

Nigeria’s transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi has expressed conceren over the reported cases of pilfering of the equipments belong to the contractors on some of the project sites along the construction corridor within Lagos axis of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail corridor handled by the Chinese Civil Engineering & Construction Corporation (CCECC).

The minister made this known at the end of the inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project. He said that initially, the federal government did not get the needed support from the people, adding some people are still in court over this, but they forgot that when lands are taken away from them by the government, it could be on the reasons of over-riding public interest.

‘’ Presently, we are confronting the challenges of stealing. We are beginning to hear about stealing. It wasn’t there at all for those who live in Lagos and Ibadan but now we are beginning to hear about pilfering that people are still our equipment’’. The minister lamented.

He said that some of these challenges are some of the delays in the smooth execution of the project. According to the minister, ‘’We are dealing with urban renewal, we are building new flyovers, overhead bridges, underpasses, pipes, sewage and we pray that we don’t meet it in Ibadan to Kano.

Amaechi said that he hope such will not be the case heading towards Kano and that if at all such hiccups are met, it won’t be in the magnitude of Lagos because it was a total chaos in Lagos, even as such support received received from Lagos residents presently was lacking initially.

‘’The fact is that they can get to Ebute-Metta soon but getting there without getting to Apapa port complex will not achieve much because we need to clear the gridlock and the easiest way to do it is to get the track to seaport, that way, cargoes will be loaded to wagons and taken to Ibadan and thank God we have gotten contract for Ibadan-Kano, as soon as we get the money, we will start work and the gridlock will be cleared’’. The minister stated.

We will be out of this place latest by April 2020. We are no longer giving ourselves the time; the contractors are the ones giving us the time. The initial contract was from Ebute-Metta but because we wanted it to end at the seaports, we extended it and that is where the challenges are.

 

MIKE OCHONMA

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