FG extends Lagos-Ibadan rail project completion deadline
– Contractor begins local sourcing of materials to meet the deadline
The Federal Government has extended the completion date of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project to April 2020.
The project was initially scheduled to be completed by February 2020, but Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an inspection tour of the project at the weekend, said that the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), had pleaded for an additional two months for the completion of station buildings and communication signals.
Amaechi said: “We are no longer giving ourselves the time, the contractor is the one giving us the time.
“The initial contract was from Ebute-Metta but because we wanted it to end at the seaports, we extended it and that is where the challenges are.
“The fact is that they can get to Ebute-Metta soon but getting there without getting to Apapa will not achieve much because we need to clear the gridlock and the easiest way to do it is to get the track to seaport, that way, cargoes will be loaded to wagons and taken to Ibadan.”
The minister, who further blamed the delay in the project on dealing with urban renewal, building new flyovers, overhead bridges, underpasses, pipes, sewage, stealing of their equipment, said that they did not initially get the needed support as some people are still in court over the lands taken from them.
Explaining reason for the delay on the part of the contractors, he said initially, they were planning to import some materials, such as glasses and doors, from China but the contractor has agreed to source the materials from Nigeria so that it can meet up with the deadline.
He said: “Before, they wanted to import glasses and doors. The pressure we are putting is now making them to buy the glasses and doors in Nigeria to quicken the process.”
On the commencement of the free train service on November 30, Amaechi said: “Although there are not enough coaches and locomotives but we will start with as many as we can take pending when the 20 locomotives that we imported will arrive as it is expected that the coaches would have arrived and cleared latest by second week in January 2020.”