By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Business may soon begin en-route on-going Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway project.
Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, gave the indication at the end of a Steering Committee meeting held in China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) office located at the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) compound Headquarters, Lagos on Monday.
“We’ll try commercial activities from Ebute Metta to Ibadan,” Amaechi said.
He pointed out that the Lagos-Ibadan rail project contract is broken into two phases, noting that the first phase is Ebute Metta to Ibadan. “Ebute Metta to Ibadan is the original contract,” he explained, and highlighted that work is progressing rapidly from Iju to Ibadan.
Though he is not impressed with the pace at which the contractor, CCECC, is laying the tracks, Amaechi stated that he is not unhappy with them either. The reason for this is because, according to him, the contractor has to deal with work on the bridges before they can lay those tracts.
“Nobody can run away from the bridges because the construction is overhead,” the transportation minister pointed out.
He went on to say that CCECC can lay about 1.5 kilometres of tracks per day, and disclosed that about nine kilometers of tracks have been laid so far.
The minister later went on an inspection tour to view the area of the proposed major railway station to be built at Apapa port complex, Lagos State. He was accompanied by the Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidelis Okhiria and other top management officials of NRC and CCECC.
According to Amaechi, the challenge in Lagos is the relocation of water, gas and oil pipelines that cause obstruction to the railway project.
“Today”, said him, “we have tried to award the contract for the relocation of water, gas and oil pipelines.
He stated that this federal government administration has resolved that all the railways in the country must terminate at seaports.