The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has said there is remarkable improvement in the pace of work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway line.
Amaechi made the assertion while interacting with journalists in Lagos on Friday after an inspection of the ongoing work on the Lagos axis of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
He spoke at the Ebute-Metta Office of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractors handling the project.
The minister, who had earlier frowned upon the contractors’ work on Monday, said that he had observed improvement in the construction of stations and mobilisation of more staff to the sites.
“We agreed that we will come to site and see what they have done, so we came and I think there is remarkable progress from the day we came till today.
“Just like I asked the journalists, if we saw the number of staff we saw today on site Monday, we would not have complained.
“Going from here to the sea port, you will see remarkable improvement, meaning that something was wrong before their chairman came.
“I am going now to have another meeting with him and we will have a total conversation on how to move forward,’’ the minister said.
On Apapa axis, he said the contractor had promised that there would be remarkable improvement from next week.
The minister said that the federal government would not allow laying of tracks before construction of stations in the Ibadan-Kano Standard Guage Rail line whenever the construction commenced.
He added that the laying of tracks and construction of stations must run concurrently to avoid the kind of delay experienced in the Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
On what the contractors should do differently on the Ibadan-Kano project, Amaechi said that adequate manpower and prompt delivery of equipment were very critical issues the contractors must look into for speedy delivery.
“I would be requesting from the chairman (of CCECC) that equipment must be commensurate with the volume of work and then manpower too must also be commensurate with the work.
“If they do that, we should expect that in three years’ time, they should deliver on the project,” he said.
On the deadline for the project, Amaechi, who declined affirming April delivery deadline, said that the government was still hopeful.
The minister, who said that he didn’t want to be talking about the deadline again, however, said that additional works contributed to the delay of the project.
Ameachi inspected the project in company with the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria, and Chairman, Board of Directors, NRC, Malam Ibrahim Al-Hassan-Musa.
The minister, who was inspecting the project for the second time in a week, commenced the inspection at Ebute-Matta Station at 9:00 am, later moved to Apapa Port axis in a train ride on the narrow gauge line.
Amaechi, who had earlier assured Nigerians that the entire project would be delivered by April, expressed doubt that the stations would be ready as planned during the Monday inspection.
The construction work is ongoing at the 10 stations along the 156-kilometre rail line corridor which included Ebute-Matta, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Olodo, Omi Adio and Moniya.