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 Lagos/Ibadan free train ride begins November 30 – FG Osinbajo lays foundation for Kajola factory

In what may be described as a piece of good news to the commuting public, the Federal Government has scheduled November 30 as the date for the commencement of free train ride from Lagos (Ebute-Metta) to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The development will ease movement during the yuletide season, as well as reduce the gridlock on the the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made the disclosure, Monday, during the monthly inspection tour of the multi-million dollars Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

According to him, the free ride will commence with two executive coaches, in the first instance, pending the arrival of more trains from China.

While speaking on the progress of work on the rail corridor, the minister explained that the new policy introduced by the Chinese firm, will hasten the completion of the project.

His words:  “It was good that they changed all their policies. Before now, they bring all materials from China and they have to wait for it to be imported before they start work despite their readiness to work.

“They have said that all materials will be gotten locally. Why do they have to import doors, windows from China? With the change of policy, the progress of work will improve”. He said.

Amaechi stated that, in signing the agreement between Nigeria and the Chinese company, Nigeria agreed with the Chinese government that, they should produce most of the materials they need locally and they said it would be a bit difficult for them. So we reached an agreement that they should start assembling wagons.

The minister said that, the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, will soon lay the foundation for the establishment of a factory for assembling and manufacturing of coaches and locomotives.

“Five years after that, they should start producing wagons and assembling coaches and locomotives and ten years after that, they should start producing locomotives and coaches here.

On the slow pace of work, he noted: “They said the reason for the delay is due to lack of clement weather. Their argument is that if they produce, we will buy from them instead of buying from outside and I told them that we will enter into agreement to buy from them. That way, we will be able to pay naira and save the scarce dollars that we have.”

On the project ownership structure, the minister said: “We are not contributing anything to the establishment of the factory and the transport university. It is their own investment. The implication is for them to look at the benefit.

Amaechi said that the assembling state belongs to the Chinese.The most important thing is that according to him is that, irrespective of who owns the factory, it will create employment and improve the economy which is our target at the end of the day.


Stella Enenche, Abuja

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