The Federal Government has given the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail project a new deadline of February 2019 to complete the rail project. This is even as it bemoaned attacks by hoodlums and armed robbers on the project contractor in Lagos.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had initially set a December 2018 deadline for the completion of the standard gauge rail project.
Speaking on Tuesday in Papalanto area of Ogun State during his routine inspection of the project, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said that insecurity issues like host community hostilities, armed robbery attacks and hoodlums harassment is slowing down the pace of work at the Lagos axis of the project.
According to Rotimi Amaechi, “Yes there is improvement on the project, but I am not too satisfied. I have told the contractor that by February next year, there must be a train on the track that makes transport sense.
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“I have told them that there must be a train on the tracks that must be able to convey people from Lagos to Abeokuta, if not to Ibadan. We have agreed that everybody must work towards the new deadline. The next inspection is on the 18th of December, 2018. That is to show you how serious we are. The inspection was once monthly before, but henceforth, it will be twice monthly.
“They are progressing rapidly. The weather is no longer an issue. Almost all the bridges having been completed. By our next meeting, it might remain just one bridge to be completed. The problem is now to ensure tracks are laid up to the point where we have all the bridges. For now, they will focus on the tracks first and build the stations later.”
On inactivity at the Lagos end of the project, the Honourable Minister of Transportation listed insecurity as one of the reasons for the slow pace of work.
In his words, “In Lagos, the contractor complained about being attacked by communities and hoodlums. They also complained that armed robbers are stealing their equipment. We didn’t experience all these between Abeokuta to Ibadan. I have asked them to get the security agencies involved so that they can be protected.”
On the forthcoming election affecting the project, Amaechi stated that, “If as DG of the President Buhari campaign team, I am telling you that I will be here on the 18th of December, that should tell you that elections won’t disturb the project.
“Mr President has said we must build infrastructure, and that must be done.”