Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this in Abuja, also stated that the inauguration of the rail project would be put on hold due to the upsurge of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
He said, “First let us admit that over 60 of our staff, not Ministry of Transportation staff, but the staff working on the rail project, have been infected by COVID-19.
The minister stated that although none of the infected persons had been lost, it was important to reschedule the proposed January 2021 inauguration date for the facility.
“Luckily nobody has died and I pray nobody will die, but you see the kind of sacrifice everybody is making to get the rail to function,” Ameachi said.
He added, “There are people sacrificing their lives to get to that point. We are of the view when we made that decision that Nigerians will not say 2020 was a bad year.
“As far as we are concerned, we need to learn how to live with COVID-19 and I really want to congratulate those who achieved that feat.”
The minister said the railway project would have been inaugurated in the first week of this month if not for the upsurge in the second COVID-19 wave.
He noted that the inauguration of the project would be dependent on how the pandemic was controlled in Nigeria, adding that government would not give room for further spread of the virus.
Amaechi said, “We were to inaugurate (the railway project) in the first week of January. We had to stop those doing minor completion work because of the rise in COVID-19 transmission.
“The timeline for inauguration will depend on COVID. If COVID stops today or reduces we will inaugurate the project.”