By Kasim Sumaina, Sunday Okobi and Oluchi Chibuzor
Nigeria needs between $36 billion to $40 billion to complete the train interconnectivity of the country which will link all parts to the system, Transportation Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has said.
Amaechi who stated this yesterday when he assessed the progress of work done on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) lamented that the funding to achieve the connectivity was not there and pleaded with Nigerians for patience.
“The directive of the President, Muhammadu Buhari is to the do everything possible to get the connectivity of the entire country and I tell Nigerians that, everybody have to be patient and we need to about 36 to 40 billion dollars to do that interconnectivity. And when we had the money, what did we do with it,” Amaechi said.
On the Lagos-Kano rail project, Amaechi stated that the government was about going back to the China for negotiations, adding that, the Lagos-Calabar contract had been awarded, but “we are looking for money.
“We’ve not even gotten money to complete Lagos-Kano project. And, I tell people, I’m from South-south and I am emotionally attached to that project and it’s unfortunate that, we have not gotten money to start that project awarded under President Goodluck Jonathan.”
He commended the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on the level of work done so far, noting that he was satisfied at the pace.
Amaechi, however, advised the company to ensure that the geological problem was sorted before the coming week in order to address the issue of the underground water, pointing out that, “we are having challenges at Kilometre 102 and they have assured us that by the second week of April, they should have gotten to Kilometre 109.
“Where we are now is Kilometre 112, and Kilometre 110 is where we are having soil challenges, due to the displacement of the soil and they said there’s the displacement of soil again from Kilometre 106 to 109 as a result of poor geological survey.
“CCECC, having done the geological survey, they now discovered that the level of the underground water is very high. And they have to look for a solution to it before the rainy season.”
He noted: “As at the last time I came and now, though, I will say they didn’t quite meet my expectation, but; they are human beings and not machines. They were able to do track laying up to Kilometre 95. But, you will agree with me that they have done the subgrade to Kilometre 98.
“What they may not have done is laying tracks and they said if I come in two weeks’ time, they would have laid the tracks to Kilometre 98 and they would have start laying the beeps to cross the bridge at Kilometre 98.”