Engineers seek partnership for capacity development
To improve capacity of members, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has urged authorities to scale up involvement of indigenous engineers on the ongoing Lagos/Ibadan railway project.
Chairman of Apapa Branch of NSE, Sunny Ejeje stated this during an industrial visit by members of the association to Nigerian Railway Corporation, Papalanto Yard/ corridor.
He said engineers need to be placed in strategic positions for the nation to be self sufficient in engineering capacity and for local content in construction sector.
Ejeje said there many aspect of the project that Nigerians can handle but they are not visible anywhere from observations.
“We want authorities and the contractor to ensure that more Nigerians are engaged on the project and we want to see them working and synergising with the contractors so that by the time they leave or finish the project, we won’t be running about looking for those to fix a loose bolt or spring in any part of the project.
He posited that members decided to visit the project site to get exposure on latest modern way of railway construction, assessment of latest materials/equipment and contribute in one way or the other to the project.
“People stay in Lagos but don’t know what is really going on but we have come to have a feel of the project along the corridor lines from Lagos to Papalanto in Ifo area of Ogun State.
“We discovered that the project, a laudable one, is still very bulky and the pace of work is slow and so we feel the project might not be completed by March next year. We have seen the holding bolts and some other things, which could be produced in Nigeria and engineers can take up the production of these bolts and other fasteners instead of bringing in everything from China”, he added.
According to him, the standard is good from what we observed although we didn’t see the test results. If the project could be connected from Ibadan to Apapa, that would be our joy.
He commended the federal government for the initiative but stressed that the pace of work on the project is slow.
The Lagos/Ibadan railway project cover 156.075 KM long and is a section of the Lagos -Kano project, which is being constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The project quantities include, 24.26million square metres earth work, 4 extra-large bridges, 11 large bridges, 4 medium bridges, 2 steel structure bridges, 10 frame bridges, 207 culverts, 40 railway-crossing bridges, 31 pedestrian overpasses, 314.72km main-line, 60.26 km station rail, 70832m-beams, 168 groups of single drive turnout, 4 groups of scissor crossover and 1,200,000 cubic metres of ballast.
In his remarks, a project manager of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Ilesanmi Lawrence, explained that some of the challenges faced include, acquiring property that are close to the railway tracks and paying owners of the properties as well as the relocation of underground wires and gas pipelines.
Lawrence assured of high quality of materials being used for the project.
“It used to be steel sleepers but now strong concrete which is an improvement.
“You would note that overtime when train ride over the steel sleepers, they tend to corrode because the gauge has widens or narrows but the concrete one is more flexible and keeps the gauge on for a long-time. So for high speed train, you are encouraged to use the concrete sleepers over the steel or the timber”, he said.