PAULETTE ORJIME, Abuja
FEDERAL Government has expressed reservation over the plan to commission the Lagos -Ibadan rail way project in April this year.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Monday while inspecting the project, alongside the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemi Saraki, and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State from Apapa in Lagos State up to Ibadan
According to the Minister, it may not be ready for commissioning at the April set date due to some aspects of the project that may not be completed
Ameachi said the current state of work on the over $1.5 billion project showed that the April completion date was no longer feasible.
“Looking at the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport. We’ll, however, continue to work and redouble our efforts to complete the project and meet set targets.
The minister, who hesitated to disclose a new date for the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail, had stated last year that the rail project would be completed in April 2020..
Amaechi said, “Looking at the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport.
“We have a lot of demolition to do; you have to deal with pipes, you have to deal with oil pipes even when you get to the seaport but in terms of tracks from Agege to Ibadan, it was smooth.”
He further said: “The second contract is from Ebute-Metta to Apapa seaport, which is about 6 kilometres. And that’s where we have been having problems. If you have been following this inspection, we have always had problems with Lagos because of its urban nature.
“It’s a mixed bag. In some stations, you are impressed but in others, you are not. Last time we came here, we had to suspend work because they were using what we refer to as stone dust.
“Again, the second excuse they have is that their vessels are at the seaport and they cannot even berth because of the long queue. We will address it when we meet with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to see how they can come forward because we really need to complete this thing as soon as possible.”
“On the April may deadline, I can’t answer that question. When you ask them (the contractors), they will still tell you it’s true”
The Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project, which was awarded in 2012, under the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, was meant to last for three years.
The project, which was expected to start in 2012 and end in 2015, faced several delays. The project is being executed in six phases, projected to cover 2,733 kilometres. The latest disclosure implies while Nigerians are anticipating the completion of Lagos-Ibadan railway, the long wait still continues beyond April.
For a better society