• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NRC, CCECC outline challenges on Lagos-Ibadan rail project

Lagos-Ibadan rail project

Chinese Civil Engineering & Construction Corporation (CCECC) has listed problems of land acquisition, utility relocation and funding for extra works as current challenges confronting the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.

This was one of the issues presented to the joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives members who came project tour of the Lagos- Ibadan rail project as part of their oversight functions. The project tour took the National Assembly members by from Iju in Lagos to Abeokuta to see the extent of job carried out on the first segment of the Lagos-Kano multi-billion dollar rail project.

Already, there are reports of equipment theft along the Lagos corridor as some criminal elements are currently destroying and stealing clips, bolts and knots. According to Fidet Okhiria, managing director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, about 10,000 bolts, 5000 clips and knots have been replaced.

It would be recalled that when the minister of transport, Rotimi Amaechi declared free train ride along Lagos-Ibadan gauge rail corridor last two weeks, he expressed dismay over the increasing theft of equipment meant for the execution of the remaining standard gauge rail segment from Iju, Lagos with extension into the Apapa port complex.
When the joint committee of the National Assembly visited, Abdulfatai Buhari, Chairman, Senate Committee on land transport who led the delegation on inspection from Lagos to Abeokuta, Ogun state capital said that the present administration has taken the transport sector as the major cardinal project and the committee was very happy with extent of job done so far.

He said that the legislature about two weeks ago appropriated more funds to further reinforce work and they have changed appropriation bill from January to December, adding that so far, the funds appropriated to the project have been utilised when matched with what is on ground.

Buhari noted that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan project, Itakpe-Warri rail and the completed Abuja-Kaduna projects had added values to the transportation system in Nigeria and believed more of the projects would add to the economic development of the country upon completion.

According to him, ‘’Our intention was to carry out the inspection to Ibadan but we couldn’t, but the beauty of it all is that the train has been taking people freely from Lagos to Ibadan. This idea of free train ride is to ameliorate the sufferings of the people especially during this festive period where our people will be going home for Xmas or new year festivities’’.

The senator expressed optimism that Nigerians would be looking at April 2020 for official commission of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line and as soon as possible, the Ibadan-Kano axis will begin. The project that was initially pegged for three years had been achieved within two years; this is a reflection of good governance and better administration.

Rail system will serve as an alternative to road transport and it will expand the life span of the Nigerian roads, rail system is key in some developed countries like Singapore, America and people are not bothered about buying cars because it’s faster, cheaper, timing and affordable.

This project was extended from Ebute Metta to Apapa m seaport and by this time next year, we would be starting Eastern zone from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri corridor”. He said.