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Respite for roads as Lagos-Ibadan rail line opens for test-run, free rides in November

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Work ongoing on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line… yesterday

For many frequent road travellers who dread the daily carnage on the highways owing to road accidents and loss of man-hours to traffic, the disclosure by the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday that the Lagos-Ibadan rail line is almost set for completion is a relief that would put an end to many hassles and travails of road users on one of the nation’s busiest highways.

In a series of tweets yesterday, Amaechi stated that test-run and free rides would commence at the end of next month (November). He wrote: “I just mandated our Chinese contractors on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line to ensure completion of at least one of the tracks up to Ebute Metta station by the end of November. They have to triple their output to make up for the rainy days.

“Completion of the eight minor stations along the Lagos-Ibadan rail line is also part of their mandate, while they take a little more time to complete the four major stations. We hope to test-run and start free rides at the end of next month so people travelling along this route during the end of year holiday season can enjoy the trains.”

This comes as cheering news but while the road users are already stress-weary over the unending reconstruction ongoing on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, there is keen yet subdued elation at the development as this is not the first time citizens had looked forward to when the Lagos-Ibadan rail would be ready for use. The previous timeline was in June 2019.

The Lagos-Abeokuta rail had been completed earlier in the year when passengers were offered a three-month free ride, though the period of the free ride was later shortened.

Already, the prospects of living in Abeokuta or Ibadan, capital cities of Ogun and Oyo states respectively, while working in Lagos is exciting to many citizens who are seeking ways to escape the chaotic city life and exorbitant accommodation/living expenses in Lagos.

Addressing some concerns over the delay, Amaechi, while inspecting the project at Kajola, Ogun State yesterday, reiterated that the Federal Government has given China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) till November 25th to complete the construction of the seven minor stations on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project and also to complete the construction of the rail tracks from Iju to Ebute Metta.

The minister noted that the construction firm had not lived up to its promise of completing the stations in three months. “They said before the dissolution of the cabinet that they were going to complete the stations in three months. May, June, and July but we are here today in October and the station is not completed. You have refused to bring your materials in and we are not owning you one kobo, we have paid everything so what is the problem?”

Coming up alongside the rail line is the Kajola project. During President Muhammadu Buhari’s last week’s trip to Russia, two firms, Russian Joint Stock Company Russian Railway and Transmash Holding signed an agreement with Nigeria to among other things build a rail manufacturing company at Kajola, which the Vice President will be laying the foundation stone in coming weeks.


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