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‘Why Lagos-Ibadan railway project April deadline may not be feasible’

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Chairman, Board of Directors, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Malam Ibrahim Al-Hassan Musa (left); Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria; Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during the inspection of Lagos-Ibadan Standard Guage Rail in Lagos … yesterday.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the Lagos-Ibadan railway project may not be ready for commissioning at the April set date due to the quantum of work yet to be done.

Amaechi disclosed this yesterday during the monthly inspection of the project in Ibadan.

The minister, who also inspected the project from Apapa Ports in Lagos, was accompanied by the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki and Governor of Oyo State, Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde.

Ameachi had stated last year that the rail project would be completed in April 2020 and inaugurated in May.

He said: “Looking at the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport.

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“We have a lot of demolition to do; you have to deal with pipes, you have to deal with oil pipes even when you get to the seaport but in terms of tracks from Agege to Ibadan, it was smooth.

“The second contract is from Ebute-Metta to Apapa seaport, which is about 6 kilometres. And that’s where we have been having problems. If you have been following this inspection, we have always had problems with Lagos because of its urban nature.

“It’s a mixed bag. In some stations, you are impressed but in others, you are not. Last time we came here, we had to suspend work because they were using what we refer to as stone dust.

“Again, the second excuse they have is that their vessels are at the seaport and they cannot even berth because of the long queue. We will address it when we meet with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to see how they can come forward because we really need to complete this thing as soon as possible.

“On the April may deadline, I can’t answer that question. When you ask them (the contractors), they will still tell you it’s true.

Meanwhile, Makinde said: “For us in Oyo State, it is a wake-up call because the track is already here. So, we need to brace up ourselves with what we have to do as a state government so that everything can be done smoothly.

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