The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has instructed the contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail project to complete the Lagos – Abeokuta axis in two weeks.
According to the minister, since more passengers are expected from Iju than Agbado, it is logical to complete Ije-Agbado before flag off.
He added that the construction is well ahead of schedule and could be flagged off as it is, but it is better to put logistics in place to enhance delivery of the project.
“I may be pushing them a bit hard but, I want the project delivered. “Though, we cannot say that the contractor, the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) is not trying but, for commercial purposes, they have to complete the section so that, passengers can board train to Abeokuta.
”Getting to Abeokuta you will see that there’s an improvement but the problem they have now is the civil work between Agbado and Iju which is critical to me because I don’t think passengers will go to Agbado to join the train.
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“I believe that the closer we are to Lagos the better for the rail and that is why I had to tell them to tell me what they will do about this before the next two weeks, although there’s a huge improvement up to this point.
“I want them to speed up the construction from Iju to Agbado,” Amaechi said.
He added that the project when completed, will decongest the Lagos sea ports.
“Part of the solution to the congestion around Lagos sea port is an efficient rail line. You can argue that the narrow gauge is there but it is not efficient. But the moment you fix this then those goods will be transferred to the rail and then the logjam will disappear.
“The moment we do the section from Iju to the sea port, then most of those goods, especially the ones gong to Ibadan will be on the rail lines.”
Amaechi also stated that the government is interested in completing the project as soon as possible as it is a project that has direct impact on the citizens, and therefore puts government under a bit of pressure to ensure speedy completion.
“Of course, and it is also because of the speed for it takes you about 30 minutes by rail from Lagos to Ibadan as against over one hour by road. And this is subsidised.”
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