By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work along the Iju-Agege axis of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
This is just as he directed China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC)—the Contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project, to put in more work and get the track to Ikeja and to also source materials locally to grow the Nigerian economy.
Amaechi who made this known while on the monthly inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, said that work has been slow on the Stations, as most of them are still the same way from the last inspections.
He however countered the argument that imported materials are cheaper, and instructed the CCECC to source for materials such as doors, window frames, floor tiles amongst others from the country, so as to boost the economy and drastically reduce youth unemployment.
The Minister who expressed satisfaction with the track laying, in which the 156km on the Lagos-Ibadan corridor had been reached, commended CCECC for agreeing to add 2km more at no extra cost.
“Laying of tracks up to Ibadan station is now complete. Our focus will now be on completing the tracks from the Agege end to Apapa Seaport and completing all the major and minor stations along the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line,” he said.
Furthermore, the Minister recalled that the railway modernization project was conceived as a result of the need to decongest the Apapa Port, take off pressure on roads and open up the hinterland, adding that the Ebute Metta-Apapa seaport is the next major hurdle, which he hopes would be completed by February, 2020.
For his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria called on Nigerians to protect the railway project as it is for their benefit.
He made the plea following the rise in pilfering of rail line equipment and misuse of train facilities since the launch of the free train ride on the Lagos-Ibadan line which started on November 30, 2019.
The Chairman, of CCECC, gave the assurance that the company will as much as possible use materials that can be sourced from Nigeria and promised to deliver the project by April 2020.