Amaechi forecloses reduction in Lagos-Ibadan train fare
•Reiterates January inauguration date for standard gauge
Despite public outcry over the exorbitant fare for Lagos-Ibadan train services, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has ruled out reduction.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) currently charges passengers on the route N2, 500, N5, 000 and N6, 000 for economy, business class and first class seats.
This comes as the minister reassured that the standard gauge rail would be ready next month. Amaechi said he had informed President Muhammadu Buhari about the commissioning, adding that the project would extend to Apapa.
He spoke at the weekend when he visited APM Terminal in Lagos along with NRC chairman, Alhassan Mahmood, Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria and Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman, among other officials.
The tour followed delay in the laying of tracks within the Apapa axis after the contractor, China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), had accused terminal operators of non-cooperation.
Amaechi, who later ordered the relevant players to give the Chinese firm access to the construction area, restated that the January 2021 commissioning date of the project was sacrosanct.
The minister said all stations – 10 of them – would be commissioned same day. He told the stakeholders to immediately iron out issues for prompt delivery of the scheme.
His words: “I have already told the President that we are commissioning in January. So there is already an answer, and we are working towards that. We must achieve it.
“By Monday (today), I am going to the President’s office to give them a date, and it must be January. This is not a political statement, and it is not going to be Ebute Metta to Ibadan. We must find a solution to the gridlock. The moment we begin to move wagons from the seaports to Ibadan at least, pressure on Lagos will reduce drastically, and that is my objective.
“They must increase the pace of work for us to commission in January. And we will not commission Ebute Metta to Ibadan. We will commission all the stations.
“I agree there are two contracts. First contract is Ebute Metta to Ibadan. The second one, which was awarded later, is Ebute Metta to Apapa seaport.”