By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has moved to minimize the cost of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project by trying to avoid the demolition of buildings on which compensation of 2.8 billion Naira has to be paid.
He has therefore initiated an option to be studied to shift from that part of the land that falls on people’s buildings to the area that is free in Ogun State.
“Why do we have to go to the place where we have to pay 2.8 billion Naira when we have available land space to use for the project,” Amaechi stressed.
To achieve this objective and to be able to tackle other emerging challenges in the progress of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, the minister disclosed that a committee has been set up.
He said the committee is to be chaired by the chairman of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).
Amaechi announced this development immediately after coming out from a stakeholders meeting held in Ibadan office of CCECC, the Chinese contractor of the railway project, on Monday, during his monthly routine inspection tour of the project site which took off from Lagos.
According to him, the committee comprises NRC, Lagos State government, Nigerian Army, CCECC, among other stakeholders as its members.
“The committee,” he explained, “will see we are able to solve the problems of gas, oil pipelines that fall into the right of way, some belonging to NNPC, some belonging to private investors.”
Having regard to the mandate of the committee, Amaechi declared: “The committee should have at the back of their mind the target of 2018,” when the ongoing project is hoped to be completed.
He stressed that the project has to be ready not later than January 2019.
The minister also said that the committee will continue to function until “we complete this assignment, because the target is 2018.”
He elaborated on the reason for his visit to Ibadan, saying: “We have been able to drive the right of way up to Abeokuta,” and therefore that his coming to Ibadan is to drive from Ibadan, Oyo State to Abeokuta, Ogun State through the right of way of the railway standard gauge project route.