The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday disclosed that the construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project is near completion just as he said the project was being finalized as train ride would commence from Iju in Lagos State to Abeokuta in Ogun State by the first week of January 2019.
Speaking after the inspection of the project alongside members of the House of Representatives, Amaechi stated that the target of the Federal Government was that by the end of January next year, the train service would also start operations in Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to him, “We are gradually coming to the end of the project because we are 6km away from Abeokuta and I have been assured, even though sometimes they may not keep to their promises, that we will be able to ride from Iju to Abeokuta at least by the first week of January.
Though the Minister expressed displeasure on the pace of work from Abeokuta to Ibadan, stating that the contractors had concentrated on Lagos to Abeokuta. “I think they are maximizing profit, they don’t want to buy additional equipment for the job ”
He said the contractors’ argument is that “they are still within the contract timeline, but we want them to use the same speed they used on Lagos to Abeokuta on Abeokuta to Ibadan ” adding that he has requested for a meeting with the management of CCECC in January to review terms.
Amaechi noted that after the completion of the rail lines, the government would put pressure on the contractor handling the project to fully carry out work on the train stations.
Amaechi added, “We can begin to put the pressure on them (contractors) to build the stations, for as you drive past the stations, you’ll see that they are working but they are slow because I’ve told them that emphasis should be on the tracks.
“In fact, I will tell them not to continue to build the two tracks, but to focus on one so that while we are using that one they can be building the second track. Because as they take the two, it’s slowing down the construction period.”
Also speaking, the House Committee Chairman on Lands & Transportation, Hon. Jubril Abdulmumuni said he had to join in the inspection with his committee members to inspect the project and be able to relate to the House about the volume of work done.
“I must confess with what we have seen today, we are very happy but my only disappointment is that what is going on here is under publicised, he added.”
Abdulmumuni said, “I just told my colleagues that I will personally go and see Mr President and tell him what we have witnessed and Nigerians should know that lots of work are going on here.”
He noted that “Whenever you have this magnitude of work going on, you must have issues but then with what is going on here, the Minister deserves some commendations with all his team. From our side, we will continue to support the Ministry to see that the project comes to completion.” he stated.