The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that the Lagos-Ibadan railway would commence commercial operations by December 2019.
Amaechi made this known during a tour of the rail project being handled by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
While also expressing dissatisfaction about the delay, Amaechi said: “CCECC has not done too well. They claimed that at the end of the last government on May 29, 2019, we owed them some money, and that we had not given approval for additional works.
“For me, that’s not enough excuse. They have slowed down so badly. We need to get them to go back to that same speed that they were before the last government was dissolved. We have just paid them the money we owed last Friday.
“The cabinet has also approved additional works. So, they have no excuse to delay because If we do get the loan for Ibadan-Kano project they will start quickly from Kano to Kaduna, and at the same time commence from Ibadan to Illorin
Amaechi also explained that the delay on Iju to Apapa parts of the Lagos-Ibadan project was also due to urbanisation.
According to him, “We have problems of urbanisation. So you have to deal with the issues of water pipes, gas, etc. In fact, there is one pipe that is very dangerous. That pipe comes from Excravos, and the moment you shut down that pipe there will be fuel scarcity,” he said.
“It is important that we construct the Coastal Rail. We have already applied for the loan and If we get the loan, we’ll start from Port Harcourt to Warri, and from Benin to Onitsha.”
The Minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Transport, Gbemi Saraki, and the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said laying of tracks had been completed.
Amaechi said redirecting petroleum pipelines along the construction zone was the most difficult part of the job, adding that the contractor had found a way to manage the situation so as not to shut down the country’s supply of fuel.