Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation disclosed on Friday that the Federal Government would ensure the completion of the Ibadan-Kano rail before before 2023.
Amaechi explained that the completion would ensure that the next President does not take the glory of the project if it wasn’t completed by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mr Amaechi also insisted on the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan section of the standard gauge by April 2020. He pointed out that the contractor had promised to speed up work by January to meet up with the deadline.
The transport Minister spoke during the monthly inspection of the project from Lagos to Ibadan. He was accompanied by his kinsman and governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Tonye Cole.
While Amaechi commended the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) for fast tracking the track construction, he wasn’t too happy with the pace of work on the stations.
The Minister who inspected all the stations from Ebute-Metta, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Omi Adio, Moniya, Ologun-Eru, among others directed the contractor to complete all the minor stations by February and major stations by April.
At Omi Adio station in Ogun state, the Minister decried the quality of work at a section of the station, urging the contractor not to compromise quality.
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At Kajola station also in Ogun, the Minister disclosed that the contractor has commenced trial run of local content by using locally sourced tiles, windows, doors that are of good quality.
According to him, if those materials meet the required standard, “we will then recommend that all other stations use local materials.”
He said: “Our timeline is that minor stations should be ready in February and the major stations should be ready in April. In which case, we can commission in April if we want to commission in April.”
Ahead of the commencement of work on the Ibadan-Kano project in January, Amaechi however said the government would not accept the kind of speed on Lagos-Ibadan project to be repeated.
He said: “We won’t allow this kind of speed on Ibadan-Kano because if we allow this kind of speed and all the excuses they are giving, you would get to 2023, you have finished and just few months after 2023, one President would come and take all the glory. Meanwhile I have been suffering, running up and down.”
He however added: “What matters is that the Nigerian people have a means of transportation to convey their goods.”
Cole in an interview with newsmen described the ongoing railway modernization as impressive, saying it is gratifying that the money is being put to use for the purpose it was collected.
He said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train when completed would transform the economy of the Nigeria generally. “People can live outside Lagos and work in Lagos.
It it will reduce the amount of trucks you see on the roads.
Then you can relocate factories outside of Lagos, into Ogun state, Oyo state which means that the economies of these areas are going to develop.
Any country that must develop in this world must have more than one commercial city. You must have various ones when the economy is strong and this is what the rail does.”