By Sandra Chukwunyere
|Federal government will commence the construction of Eastern rail project which connects Port Harcourt – Bonny to Maiduguri with a view to boosting trade and investment in the affected axis of the country. |
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who made the disclosure recently in Ibadan said that the project would soon be flagged off as soon as the Lagos-Ibadan railway project is completed by December, this year.
The minister said, the planned commencement is subject to approval by the Federal Executive Council, while listing other projects in line for commencement, adding that the Kano/Maradi line and the Ibadan to Kano section of the Lagos to Kano rail line are part of the listed projects that would be given priority attention.
Amaechi who gave the assurances on Wednesday shortly after inspecting the level of work on all the Stations across the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, disclosed that they had sent to requested for approval of two railway contracts, Port Harcourt – Bonny to Maiduguri. He said if that is awarded, that will be the next assignment for the Ministry of Transport, including the Kano – Maradi line, which passes through Kano, Dutse, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiya, Maradi.
According to Amaechi, “We are also pursuing the loan for the contract which has been awarded for the Lagos to Calabar rail line. We also expect that Ibadan to Kano will commence before the end of this year,” he said.
He however, noted that much work has not been done on the Apapa station because the building of the station just commenced, “but I want them to finish all the stations at same time. He insisted that a special taskforce be set up to make sure Apapa station is completed same time as all the others. If you see the station at Olodo, there are improvements, they finished flooring, roofing, lighting, ceilings; just doors and windows left. Again, what is left at Kajola is just painting. There is improvement in Olodo and Ebute-metta.
In his remark, “The only station in which I am not satisfied is this last station in Ibadan. However, they have given us the following targets: End of September, three stations will be ready; end of October, all the seven minor stations will be ready; end of December, everything will be ready,” he assured.
The minister also emphasized that the contractors were expecting more engineers on site to speed up construction.
He said: “The timeline hasn’t changed, but they didn’t meet my target for this inspection, my target was that by today (September 15), they would have finished the minor stations, but they gave an excuse that because of Covid they hadn’t enough engineers on site. What you have is the same engineers supervising Agbado and Agege, so they move in between and that is slowing down the work.
“As for me, I want this job done because I want to move out of Lagos. Their submission is that by next week, all engineers will be on site and work will commence and once work commences, they will be faster and by the end of September, they should finish the three major stations.”
Amaechi also assured that the Ministry would collaborate with the Lagos State government to ensure fencing of the tracks, to prevent the kind of incidents that occurred in Oshodi last Monday.