The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed worry about a number of unforeseen challenges affecting the construction of a standard gauge railway line between Lagos and Ibadan.
The $1.5bn project, whose groundbreaking ceremony was performed last year by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, then as acting president, is meant to be fully completed in December this year.
But the project contractor, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, has had to contend with a number of obstructions on the rail line’s right of way such as houses, companies, gas pipelines, water pipes and overhead bridges.
While the Federal and Lagos State governments have agreed to demolish two obstructing bridges in Lagos, the Ministry of Transportation is said to be discussing with relevant authorities to remove other obstructions on the right of way.
Briefing newsmen after the monthly meeting of the Project Implementation Committee with the CCECC on Tuesday, Amaechi said that they were “battling with time schedule”.
The Punch quoted Amaechi as saying that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had started the inspection of some of the gas pipelines on the right of way of the project in Ogun State, saying the inspection would be completed in two weeks.
The inspection took the team, which included the senior officials of the ministry and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, to the project sites in Agbado, Ijoko, Itori, Papalanto and Abeokuta.
The minister said the government had settled property owners whose houses were affected in order to clear the land for the smooth take off of the project.
Asked when the laying of tracks would commence, Amaechi said this would be determined when the issue of right of way had been addressed.
He said the ministry was collaborating with relevant stakeholders including the Lagos and Ogun state government officials to address the challenges.