The Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi says the coaches and wagons to be manufactured in Kajola will be done using mostly local materials. The Minister said this while briefing journalist after the monthly steering committee meeting and inspection of the Lagos Ibadan rail.
Amaechi said the Kajola manufacturing company which will be flagged off on the 8th of November 2019 will create jobs and improve the economy.
“In signing the agreement between Nigeria and the Chinese company, we agreed with them that they should produce most of the materials they need locally and they said it would be a bit difficult for them, so we reached an agreement that they should start assembling wagons”.
” Five years after that, they should start producing wagons and assembling coaches and locomotives and ten years after that, they should start producing locomotives and coaches here”.
“Their argument is that if they produce, we will buy from them instead of buying from outside and I told them that we will enter into agreement to buy from them. That way, we will be able to pay naira and save the scarce dollars that we have”.
“We are not contributing anything to the establishment of the factory and the transport university. It is their own investment”.
“The implication is for them to look at the benefit. The assembling company, I must state belongs to the Chinese. The most important thing is that it creates employment and improve the economy which is our target at the end of the day”.
Addressing the delay in completing the Ebutte- Meta axis of the rail tracks the Minister said the CCEC blamed it on the incessant rains in the past few weeks.
“They said the reason for the delay is due to lack of clement weather. Why weather will be a problem is on the track and we are insisting that they must get to Ebute- Meta by the end of November and they are saying they don’t know if the weather is good, they will get to Ebute- Meta”.
“They just told me that out of the 30 days in a month, it rained 23 days. They also said that even if it stops raining, they need few days for soil to be ready for the work. We just have to pray that the rain doesn’t fall”.
Amaechi said test run of the entire track between Ebute-Meta and Ibadan would begin on the 3oth to enable government provide free train services for all who want to travel from Lagos to Ibadan by rail during the yuletide.
“The reason why it will happen is because of the fact that other coaches are coming. They (coaches) will come before Christmas”.
“On the 30th, we will commence test run but the issue is that we want to start it from Ebute Meta but they are saying Iju will be ready. As far as lagosians are concerned, Iju is in Ogun State. I just want them to get to Ebute Meta”. There are 19 kilometers between Iju and Ebute-metta.
The Minister said the trains which were initially used to test run Iju to Ibadan had been moved to Kaduna to alleviate the pressure from the 3,700 passengers daily as against the 1,000 passengers originally anticipated. He said the increase in passengers was due to insecurity on the Kaduna road.That, he said is the reason why standing is allowed on Abuja-Kaduna rail.
“The reason why we allowed standing on the Abuja-Kaduna is because the insecurity has made it unbearable for you to say listen gentlemen we are insisting on sitting”.
“But once we get the next 10 coaches we are sending to Kaduna, the situation where passengers stand inside our coaches will be reduced. Although it will not solve the problem of addressing the 3,700 passengers but at least it will reduce who stands”.