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FG to inaugurate Lagos-Ibadan rail project amid challenge

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Minister for transportation, Rotimi Amaechi PHOTO: Twitter

Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the challenge in completing the third track that leads to Apapa Port would not stop the ministry from inaugurating the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

Amaechi gave the hint, yesterday, in Lagos shortly after his visit to the Apapa Port where the track was laid.

Specifically, he said rail experts and other stakeholders would meet over the challenge hindering completion of the third track.

The minister mentioned that APM Terminals, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) would continue to collaborate to ensure speedy completion of the laying of tracks to the port terminals.

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The Federal Government had extended the Lagos-Ibadan Modernisation Project from its original destination at Ebutte Meta to Lagos ports to allow for massive freight movement and free up Lagos roads.

“We have issues concerning whether or not to remove some structures. Luckily, the Nigerian Customs Service has agreed that we should remove the old scanner centre in the port, but this will be difficult.

“We are going to the office to have a meeting on what to do about the situation. We are working hard to find solutions to the issue of laying the last track.

“I am not an engineer but a policy maker. It is only when the engineers have come out with a proper and time-based solution that the issue will be resolved,”Amaechi said.

He said that in spite of the delay in completion of the last track, the inauguration would hold, noting that the other two tracks had been completed.

The Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, stressed the need for rail transportation in the country, saying it would facilitate easier movement of passengers and goods.

According to him, rail has to access the ports for ships to load directly to the rail tracks. He explained that it is only if the tracks get to the seaside that issues with multiple handling of cargoes will be eradicated.

“The essence of the rail is to move freight. We have to get to the port seaside meaningfully, not just getting to the port. This has to happen so that multiple handling of cargoes will be eradicated,” Okhiria said.

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