Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Following the level of progress of work and gradual implementation of the carefully considered solutions by the federal government to holistically tackle the challenges ranging from water pipe, gas pipe, oil pipe to sewage pipe that are obstructing construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, the federal government has assured that the Lagos-Ibadan rail line would be put into use come January 2019 and by this, Nigerians are expected to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, in a statement by the ministry yesterday in Abuja, gave this assurance when he briefed journalists immediately after the monthly meeting of the Lagos-Ibadan Rail line Project Steering Committee February 12 at the Ibadan Railway Yard in Ibadan.
According to the minister, â€œWe hope this project will be completed within the life span of construction. Nigerians are putting us under immersed pressure. This contract is three years and we are doing it within one year and two months. Our target is December 2018 but at most, January 2019, Nigerians will start to enjoy the dividends of democracy,â€ he enthused.
Amaechi in the statement, noted that based on the present challenges being experienced on the project, a committee was set up chaired by the Board Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Usman Abubakar with the representatives of Nigerian Army, NRC, Lagos State Government, NNPC and CCECC as members to ensure that all the challenges are resolved and having at the back of their minds that December 2018 is the deadline for the completion of the project.
â€œIt has not been easy, we have set up a committee chaired by the NRC Board Chairman, Mr. Abubakar Usman, team group, Nigerian Army representatives, Lagos State Government, NNPC and CCECC as members to resolve all the problems.â€
Continuing, he revealed that, â€œas part of efforts of the government to expedite action on the progress of work on the project and also reduce cost, and government is working out a proposal to acquire an alternative land to build the railway station at Abeokuta instead of paying N2.8 billon as compensation for the present proposed location.â€
When asked if there would be alternative ways to handle the challenges of the Jibowu and Costain bridges which are on the right of ways of the eail line in Lagos State.
He said there was no alternative to those bridges that would be demolished noting that the federal government is working together with the Lagos State Government to see how to reduce heavy vehicular movement on that axis when work finally commences.
At the end of the press briefing which was after an extensive meeting of the minister with members of the Project Steering Committee, the Minister and his entourage embarked on the inspection tour of the project and drove through Corridor DK 142 – DK 85 (from Ibadan to Abeokuta) being the right of ways to ascertain the progress made so far on the project.