Nigeria’s minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of laying of tracks by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.
Speaking at the end of his monthly inspection tour of the project during a stop along the Ibadan project corridor, the minister stated that only three kilometres of tracks has been achieved since his inspection visit last month, during which period the CCECC estimated that, it would lay 11 kilometers of track by this month.
‘According to Rotimi Amaechi, ‘’They have started laying the tracks as you know. But am I impressed with the laying, the answer is no. We agreed at 11 kilometers, they have done only three. They have apologized and said that at the next meeting which would take place on the 25 of July, they would have done more than 10.
The minister however pointed out that the reason for the snail speed is the rain that is slowing down the civil works, adding that the contractors are trying to manage the situation until the dry weather comes.
Amaechi disclosed that the capacity is that, CCECC can lay that 10 kilometers in one day, but it is the civil works that is the problem and not the laying of the tracks. It is how to manage the civil works under the current situation of weather challenges and they are working towards that.
He expressed satisfaction with the management of the Lagos State Water Corporation, the committee headed by the chairman of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) and all the engineers in the committee mandated to find solutions to the problems and challenges hindering smooth project work along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor.
On the impact and state of affairs of infrastructures perceived to be hindering the project, the minister said, ‘’If you remember we said we have a challenge of 24 kilometers water pipes in Lagos and the project engineer had consistently argued at the meeting that we can’t say that until we go to the site’’.
‘’He went with his team and found out that we only have two kilometers of pipe on our right of way. Those challenges actually exist but not on our right of way. They exist on LAMATA right of way’’.
On the importance of the rail infrastructure in the economy, the minister maintained that the whole Nigeria knows that the President is committed to railway and that’s why I will say I’m fortunate because if the aides tell the President the Minister for Transport wants to see you, he assumes it is about railway. So he would just say please let him see me.
The President believes that the cost of production and movement of goods including that of agriculture will be resolved to the benefit of th society if we are able to do railway and his focus is everywhere in Nigeria.
‘’So even if I have political problem and I say I want to see the President, I’m allowed to see the President because the assumption is that it is railway and so we must know that it is not a question to say what’s the commitment of the federal government’’. Amaechi stated.