The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has tasked CCRC to increase the number of workers and provide PPEs for them as part of measures to increase the pace of work and deliver the Lagos- Ibadan project by Jan 2021.
Speaking after he resumed the monthly inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the Minister said Covid19 is here to stay and should not be allowed to continue to stall the project.
“For those who have been following us, you know that for every station, we had 150 to 200 workers, now you have 10 to 20 workers. What we have agreed with them is that they should increae the number of workers and manage covid very well meaning that they should come with their face masks ,face shields and come to work”.
“Government has to run and we have to deliver our promises to the people because that’s why we were elected and we don’t have time. If we just seat down in our houses and wait for covid to end, it may end 2023, lets hope that by January, this project will be ready”.
When asked about the Ibadan-Kano rail project Amaechi said the loan is delaying the project.
“We are ready for the commencement of Ibadan to Kano. We are waiting for the approval of the loan, when the loans come, you will see skeletal activities even before the loans come. Just watch out”.
The Minister said the probes by the National assembly could affect the position of the lenders of funds for the project.
“When we talked to National Assemble to stop this investigation of loan, they are not investigating corruption of construction, what we meant is that they should allow us get the loan for Ibadan- Kano which is about 5.3 bilion dollars because if you are telling the man that lent you money that you do not like the way he lent you, he wont lend u further. That’s the point”.
The MD Railway , Engr. Fidet Okhiria while fielding questions from journalist said skeletal services on the Lagos-Ibadan rail as directed by the Minister will commence in September.
“we will start by middle of September from Yaba to Ibadan, while the other construction will continue and hopefully by January, it will be full blown”.
“We already have 24 coaches and a set of dmu made up of 8 coaches and with that we intend to have fifteen round trips a day”.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed expressed satisfaction at the state of the project, saying that the project will create jobs and outlast the executors.
“You have seen this trip first hand yourselves. The stations, the rolling stock, the people at work and the fact that this is a project that will outlast all of us here”.
“Come and see yourselves what we are doing with the money that we borrowed. We didn’t borrow money for services, we did not borrow money for overhead expenditure, we borrowed money for capital projects ;roads bridges power and generally infrastructure “.
According to him , the rousing welcome received from people at every stop is an indication that Nigerians value the project.
He commended Amaechi for his tenacity and insistence on pushing the contractors to deliver.
At Apapa, the Minister was not impressed with the work done as he said, nothing has changed. Even the houses earmarked for demolition to give room for the project were still there. He said NPA and Flour mills are not showing enough enthusiasm for the project.
The Level of work at some of the stations inspected like Papalanto, Agbado and Kajola were at Advanced stages and the Minister gave the contractors 3 weeks to complete the station. He however said skeletal services should begin while construction continues.