Kasim Sumaina in Ibadan
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, summoned the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and TEAM Nigeria Limited to an emergency meeting over the continued excuses, delays and possible non-completion of the ongoing lagos-Ibadan rail project as scheduled.
Amaechi stressed that the project is heading beyond April deadline, noting that he cannot continue to speak on the date because, “CCECC is being political with the project.”
According to the minister, “they are giving us all sorts of excuses. I have asked to meet with NPA on Thursday or Friday to resolve those issues.
“Again the second excuse they have is that their vessels are at the sea port and that they can’t even berth because of the long queue. We will address it when we meet with NPA to see how they can come forward because we really need to complete this thing as soon as possible.
CCECC, NPA and TEAM will be at the meeting and we will resolve the issues”.
Speaking on the April/May deadline, he said: “I can’t answer that question. When you ask them, they still tell you it’s true.
“Let me not continue to give you a date and getting to that date, you are not there. They are being political. When I complained the last time, they said minor stations will be completed in April. They won’t talk about the major stations. We are heading back to the conference coach to have a meeting I have told them the entire management of CCECC must meet with me on Thursday,” he explained.
He said, “If it’s in terms of tracks, it’s 100 per cent. Apart from Ebute-Metta but what you must know is that there are two contracts here. The first contract is from Ebute Metta to Ibadan.
“The second contract is from Ebute-Metta to Apapa Sea port which is about 6 kilometres. And that’s where we have been having problems. If you have been following this inspection, we have always had problems with Lagos because of the urban nature of Lagos.
“We have a lot of demolition to do; you have to deal with pipes, you have to deal with oil pipes even when you get to the sea port but in terms of tracks from Agege to Ibadan, it was smooth.
“Now they are working from Agege to Ebute-Metta, which they think they should be able to complete in one to two weeks. It’s just that trucking sand from Ogun state to Agege is a problem because they said they need more 32,000 cubic metres to finish up at Agege but they do 3000 per day which means they need ten days to be able to truck the quantity of sand that they need so it’s not that easy but I think they are Making progress,” Amaechi said.