Chiemelie Ezeobi, Kasim Sumaina and Oluchi Chibuzor
The Minister of Transportation, Mr.Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Friday hinted that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Rail project is one hundred per cent complete.
Amaechi, who gave the hint during the monthly inspection tour of the project at Kila, Ibadan, said they are getting to the end of the track, which is kilometer 158, adding that what remains is 34 to 35km which they can cover in the next three weeks.
The minister, while speaking to the THISDAY shortly after the inspection said, “When we started, this whole area was just bushes.
“They had not cleared the road, so we created roads with our cars, but at the end of the day we are coming to the end of the project with a new vegetation.
“There used to be green grasses here, trees, waters and creeks. In constructing the rails, the creek were turned into dry land and some areas where you have valleys we have put bridges.
“Any area that there was no need to put bridges because it was a normal road, we had to create bridges.
“Areas we could have just moved straight on, we created valleys just to ensure Nigerians are able to move from Lagos to Ibadan.
“CCECC is confirming that by the end of May they will complete track activities on this Lagos to Ibadan.
So we are ahead of schedule, Hundred percent ahead of schedule and we should be at the end of the outskirt at the end of month.”
Responding to the state of work at the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail project, the minister said: “The track has gone to Warri and they are using it now, but they have not finish the station and I expect that by the end of the year they can finish it, infact before July.”
On the issue of inadequate coaches Amaechi said they have placed an order to that effect, adding that to construct the Lagos-Ibadan Rail project, a contract of 500million dollars has been awarded for that.
For Abuja he said: “The issue is because the number outstrips the supply and this is because of the pressure on the Abuja-Kaduna Road.
“The rail is supposed to carry 300 passengers per day and we have been carrying them until the pressure from the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway made it unbearable.
“That pressure has overwhelmed the eight coaches that we have and we are bringing two from the Itakpe-Warri rail to make it 10 coaches.
“The extra two coaches will carry 164 passengers, which will still not solve the problem because we carry about 2000 passengers a day instead of 300.
“The implication is that we have to provide for another 1500 because even if we bring the two coaches it won’t be enough. We are going to order for more coaches.
“The problem with that is that if we order more coaches and the after, the pressure on the road disappears, the coaches will be empty.”
On whether he has delivered on his mandate Amaechi said, “How can I score myself. Have you ever seen where a teacher scores themselves or student, score themselves. I really don’t know.
“But, all I know is that, the president, you and Nigerians are available and who can score any minister. I don’t know whether we kept to the directive of Mr. President, only the president can say ‘you have kept to my directive’, or Nigerians can say, ‘you have done well or done badly’.”