By Maritime Security News\
|Federal Government is concerned about the safety and well-being of residents of the Communities on the corridor of the Lagos-Ibadan rail gauge under construction.|
To that effect, it has directed the contractor handling the project to construct over and under passesfor the people to use without crossing the rail track and endangering their lives in the process.
The minister gave the directive during a routine inspection of the Lagos -Ibadan rail project on Saturday.
“The first thing for us is to complete our over passes and under passes so that when any accident happens, we will say Lagos state government is liable because, we have completed our own.” If we don’t complete our own and anything happens, we will also be as liable as the Lagos state government.
“There are communities along these routes especially in the Ogun State area. We have in the course of constructing this rail line elevated the tracks and erosion is happening but it can’t cross over to the next place.
“We are being unfair to them because they gave us all the cooperation we wanted. If these communities have been this good to us, why do we want to visit them with what was not there before we came?
“Is for the engineers to take a study village by village of what impact our rail line must have caused to those communities, viz-a-viz EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)”, Amaechi said.
The directive by the Minister followed several complaints by communities along the rail corridor about inadequate pedestrian crossing and over passes.
Amaechi said that the contractors had done their best with the project but identified weather conditions as one of the challenges facing them.
“We have cooperation from the various communities along the standard gauge construction; the contractors have done what they could do but the problem is change in weather.“They couldn’t work beyond that period, besides that, I think the contractors have done well.
“The construction is coming to an end; they are trying to beat the target they gave the Ministry of Transportation, because there is huge improvement.
“Is there any facility in Nigeria that is better than the one in Ebute-Meta,?” he asked.
Contributing , the Chairman, Board of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, said in the course of the project, the management of NRC had discussed with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and agreed on locations where overhead crossing and bridges would be constructed.
“We agreed that some bridges and overhead crossing will be constructed by the Federal Government while others will be done by state governments.
“For instance, we constructed new two line bridges at Costain and brought down the old ones to enable us have access.
“As we are coming, you can see that passengers’ movement are under the track, while in some places we could see overhead bridges from Lagos to Ibadan in consideration of human and goods trafficking along the corridors,” he said.Musa said that the standard gauge between Lagos and Ibadan was the first moving train, compared to the narrow gauge that the country had in the past.
Musa said that although people were still asking for more access to the corridor,their request would, however, would be considered based on merit and the finances available on ground.
The Director of Railway, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr Babakobi Muhammed, said that the ministry officials held meetings with transportation ministries of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states to ensure safe corridor for the train. Muhammed stated that the ministry had made provisions for pedestrian crossing to various ministries, while government had approved, while the locations was being worked on.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, was among dignitaries who accompanied the Minister on the inspection tour.