Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has stated that the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project will be completed in April 2020.
The Minister also reassured that test-running of the train would commence by the end of November 2019.
Recall that the Minister had promised free train rides between Lagos and Ibadan during the Yuletide season. According to him, more coaches had been shipped and are expected to arrive in time for that. However ,the rides will be done with the number of coaches on the ground when the time comes.
Amaechi reiterated that with the pace at which the contractors are currently working, he was optimistic that the completion period would be achieved.
The minister gave the hint last Saturday shortly after inspecting the project site in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
According to him, “We are no longer giving ourselves the time; the contractors are the ones giving us time. By April next year, we should be out of this place. There is huge improvement compared to the last time we were here. The contractors have assured us that by December 20 this year, the laying of tracks would have gotten to Ibadan station. This means that the focus will no longer be on the tracks but on the completion of the stations, communication and Signal operations, and once we achieve all that, it means we are out of Ibadan.”
At Kajola, the station was about 70% completed with significant progress between the previous inspection.
Amaechi said: “They are eager to complete the stations but the constraint at the moment is that the equipment have not arrived from China, and our argument is that they should get some things from Nigeria.
They are expecting pipes and other things, and they requested that we should give them one or two months to complete the stations. They equally wanted to import glasses and doors from China but we have to put pressure on them to buy those glasses and doors in Nigeria in other to quicken the time with which they would install them.”
The minister noted that then completion of the Lagos-end of the project was a huge task as construction of new flyovers and overhead bridges were progressing steadily.
It is a big problem. We are dealing with urban renewal. We are building new flyovers, we are also building overhead bridges and under passes, and we are dealing with pipes and lots more. We pray not to experience these challenges in Ibadan to Kano segment of the project. Don’t forget that there are two contracts here. The first is Ebute-Metta to Ibadan, then, I came up with the idea of extending the project to the seaport, which is a bit challenging.”
He added that: “They can get up to Ebute-Metta in the next one month, but to get there without getting to Apapa seaport would amount to not achieving much because we need to clear the gridlock in Apapa, and to achieve that, we need to get the tracks into the seaport, in that way, cargoes will be loaded to wagons and transported up to Ibadan.”
At kilometre 8.9 Ilupeju, Mushin axis of the rail line, Amaechi said the safety of the people around rail lines must be put into consideration at all times.
He, therefore, instructed that buildings close to the rail line be bought off, demolished and fenced out to create adequate space for the power line, and to also protect the people living around there