Kasim Sumaina and Sunday Okobi
The federal government has hinted that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail project is gradually coming to an end.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who made the disclosure, however expressed dissatisfaction over CCECC’s pace of work, adding that the contractor might be maximising profit.
Amaechi added that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would also inspect the project from Lagos to Abeokuta in the first week of January.
The transportation minister gave the hint during the monthly inspection of the on-going Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Odeda, in Ogun State.
He stated that the rail line would have been completed by the end of December 2018 up to Abeokuta when Osinbajo would inspect the volume of work done so far.
According to him, “We are gradually coming to the end of the project. Today, we are 6km from Abeokota. I have been assured that we will be able to ride from Ido to Abeokuta by the first week of January.
“The idea is to bring the Vice President and some Ministers to join us in the ride. And so far, we have installed anti theft track to guide again theft.
“I will tell CCECC to concentrate on the track for now by focusing on one rail track to the end because work will be faster that way while they can continue with the other lane.
“When one is in use, work will continue on the second lane. Building two at the same time slows construction period.”
Speaking further, Amaechi said: “One of the gains of the project is that no fewer than 9,000 Nigerians are on the payroll of the counterpart funding of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project of the federal government and the Chinese contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC.
Amaechi revealed that Nigerians working on the project, include engineers and casual workers and are well over 9,000.
“While we congratulate the Chinese contractor for their technology. We are now saying Nigerians must learn how to build good roads and railway for ourselves like other countries did it. We cannot continue to rely on other people’s technology. The earlier we learn that, the better for us,” he said.
Commenting on the man-made challenges of the project, he said vandalism of bolts and braces on the rail lines, particularly on Kaduna axis are quite alarming in Kaduna axis.
He said Government and the contractor. China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, and the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, had to device means to prevent further theft by procuring anti theft rail lines to prevent further theft of the ongoing project
Also, the House Committee Chairman on Land Transportation, Hon. Jubril Abdulmumuni, said he had to join in the inspection with his committee members to inspect the project and be able to relate to the House about the volume of work done.
“I must confess with what we have seen today, we are very happy but my only disappointment is that what is going on here is under publicised”, he added.
Abdulmumuni said, “I just told my colleagues that I will personally go and see Mr President and tell him what we have witnessed and Nigerians should know that lots of work is going on here.”
He further noted that, “When ever you have this magnitude of work going on, you must have issues but then with what is going on here, the Minister deserves some commendations with all his team. From our side, we will continue to support the Ministry to see that the project comes to completion.”
Jibrin explained that, “naturally in Nigeria we get information from every sides, the minister said this work is going on, come let’s go and see; here we are, I must confess with what we have seen we are very happy but my only disappointment is that what is going on here is under publicised.
“I don’t know why he is holding it to himself, if he doesn’t want to do that, I will go and do that myself, I just told my colleagues that I will personally go see the president myself and tell him what is going on and Nigerians should know that lots of work is going on here.”
He added, “This is channel 73, in the next two to three weeks we will be in Abeokuta, we need another 14 kilometers to get to Iju, complete that bridge then we can cross with the train.”