Bennett Oghifo and Kasim Sumaina in Ibadan
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed concern that the contractor handling the 156 kilometres Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line, China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation, had curiously delayed completing work on the 10 railway stations along the rail line, stating that there was a problem.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the minister expressed the federal government’s embarrassment at the slow pace of work on the stations at Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto and Abeokuta, during the monthly inspection of the on-going Lagos to Ibadan rail project yesterday.
Amaechi said, “The delay is becoming an embarrassment and I think we need to meet with the CCECC. We cannot continue like this. The speed has reduced drastically this time, we need to meet with the management of CCECC. We have a problem with CCECC honestly.”
He said the contractor had promised to finish the stations within three months, stating that he expected the contractor to have improved on the block work, flooring, plastering and pipe laying from the position he met them the last time he inspected the project.
According to him, the excuses they were giving now was that most of their workers had gone on Christmas break. “I quite disagree with the speed of work at the stations, but they have tried with the tracks, this is the first time that we are taking ride from Lagos to Ibadan major station.
“We should commend them that they have been able to get to the 156km the remaining 2km is not part of the contract, because the contract states 156km.
“Although am not quite happy with their pace of work, but they have said they have a time line which is for the minor stations to be ready by February and major stations would be ready by April which means you can commission by April or you force them to speed up and that will be before February.
Assessing them for the year, he said, “they have done well in track laying and construction of stations. Well, I have told them to source for their materials locally things like doors windows can be bought in Nigeria, we are encouraging them to use our materials from Nigeria so that our industry can grow.
“What you see in Kajola tation is the trial run of our local content including the tiles, windows and doors, if they meet the standard we are looking for, we will then recommend that all other station use local materials.”
Speaking further, Amaechi revealed that the project was expected to be ready by April. Adding: “by first quarter next year we would have moved to Ibadan Kano.
“The Lagos – Ibadan would be ready by next year but we will not allow this type of speed on Ibadan to Kano standard Gauge rail because if we allow this kind of speed by 2023 they will not have finished and after a few more months another president will come in and say he did the work whereas, I have been suffering, running up and down to ensure we complete the work.