Kasim Sumaina in Ibadan
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday described reports that the ministry is seeking over $650 million loan to complete the ongoing expansion works on the Warri-Itakpe and the Lagos-Ibadan rail lines as untrue, noting that the money sought for the projects have long been approved.
This is even as he frowned at the contractors, Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and the American Consultant firm, TEAM, on the slow pace of work on the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail line project.
Amaechi, while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the project inspection at Omi-Adio station in Ibadan, said: “I read somewhere that we are looking for additional $650 million for the expansion works on the Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri corridors, this is not true.
“We said we would be needing $1.6 billion, and that was long time ago. The money has since been approved. It is not as if we are looking for additional funds for these projects. It is important that I clarify that.”
The minister, while lamenting the slow pace of work at the Agege sub station, expressed concern at the pace of work, reminding officials of the CCECC that he would return on December 20 to ascertain the level of work done.
He, therefore, informed them that the January 2021 completion of the project remains sacrosanct, adding that “the federal government will not compromise on the project inauguration.”
Amaechi urged the contractors to recruit more hands in order to ensure the completion of the project and deliver it for public use as soon as possible.
He pointed out that due to the slow pace of work on the Lagos-Ibadan axis, there would be no more contracts work on any rail project without comprehensive plans by the contractors.
“On all other projects, including Ibadan-Kano, and due to the slow pace of work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, we have stated that we will not commence work in any other contract until we have a comprehensive programme of work so that we would see when you start, when you finish and the facilities that you need,” Amaechi said.