Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has said the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail project is gradually coming to an end, even as it revealed that Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is set to inspect the project from Lagos-Abeokuta in the first week of January.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, gave the hint during the monthly inspection of the on-going Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Odeda, in Ogun State.
The minister said 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 Idu 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 on use, work will continue on the second lane. Building two at the same time slow construction period.”
Speaking further, he said: “One of the gains of the project, the minister said 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, includes engineers and casual workers are well over 9,000.
“While we congratulate the Chinese contractor for their technology. We are now saying Nigerians must learn on 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. “
Commenting on the man-made challenges faced, he said vandalisation of bolts and brazes 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.
The minister, however, expressed displeasure over a certain portion of the ongoing project from Abeokota to Ibadan, insisting that the contractors had concentrated more on Lagos to Abeokuta.
“I think they are maximising profit, they don’t want to buy additional equipment for the job. Their argument is that, they are still within the contract time line, but, we want them to use the same speed they used on Lagos to Abeokuta on Abeokuta to Ibadan. I requested for a meeting with the management of CCECC in January to review the terms,” he said.
Also, the House Committee Chairman on Lands &, 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.
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.”