By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
WARRI-The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has on Friday, disclosed that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail project is about 80 percent complete.
The Minister who made the disclosure while inspecting the rail line, noted that the work is meant to be completed in 2019,adding however that the Federal government is compelling the contractors to finish the project earlier.
According to him, “The project is between 70 to 80 per cent complete, but you must know that this job is meant to be completed in 2019. However, we are compelling them (the contractors) and because we are pushing, they are working day and night to have it done”.
He noted, that the government was funding the revival of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail project at a cost of about $200 billion, adding that the project would be completed before the scheduled date.
On the other hand, the Minister revealed that the total cost for the Lagos-Ibadan rail line was $1.5 billion.
Amaechi, stated that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail project, had been abandoned for close to 34 years, adding that the government is trying to complete it.
On the stipulated time frame, he said, “If it is time frame, they are well ahead of schedule. It is meant to be completed in 2019 and what we are doing here is what we are doing in Lagos-Ibadan and that project is actually a three-year contract. But we are forcing them to a one-year completion period.
“Just like this is supposed to end by 2019, but we are saying no, you must leave site before October. Although we had a verbal agreement with them to quit site by June 2018. However, in terms of contract, it is 2019.”
The Minister, said the contractors handling the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail project might be asked to stretch the rail line to Lokoja, to ensure seamless travel experience.
On interferences with projects by locals, he noted that projects of either states or federal government are meant for development and not to enrich a particular group.
“These projects are not meant to give any body money, the essence of doing this project by the Federal government, is to enable development come here” he said.
The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line which will soon be completed, has been abandoned for over 30 years and the contractors on the projects are the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and Julius Berger(JB).