By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has disclosed that the Eastern rail line which connects Port Harcourt – Bonny to Maiduguri will commence soon subject to approval by the Federal Executive Council.
This, the Minister said will commence upon completion of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project by December.
Amaechi said the planned commencement is subject to approval by the Federal Executive Council, while listing other projects in line for commencement. They include, the Kano/Maradi line and the Ibadan to Kano section of the Lagos to Kano rail line.
According to the statement from the media office of the Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister stated this in Ibadan on Wednesday shortly after inspecting the level of work on all the Stations across the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.
He said, ” We have sent to the cabinet the request for approval of two railway contracts, Port Harcourt – Bonny to Maiduguri. If that is awarded, that will be the next assignment for the Ministry of Transport. Also the Kano – Maradi line, which passes through Kano, Dutse, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiya, Maradi.
“We are also pursuing the loan for the contract which has been awarded for the Lagos to Calabar rail line. We also expect that Ibadan to Kano will commence before the end of this year,” Amaechi said.
On the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, he noted that much work has not been done on the Apapa station because the building of the station just commenced, “but I want them to finish all the stations at same time. And I have insisted that a special taskforce be set up to make sure Apapa station is completed same time as all the others. If you see the station at Olodo, there are improvements, they finished flooring, roofing, lighting, ceilings; just doors and windows left. Again, what is left at Kajola is just painting. There is improvement in Olodo and Ebute-metta.
“The only station in which I am not satisfied is this last station in Ibadan. However, they have given us the following targets: End of September, three stations will be ready; end of October, all the seven minor stations will be ready; end of December, everything will be ready,” he said.
Amaechi also disclosed that the contractors were expecting more engineers on site to speed up construction.
Hear him, “The timeline hasn’t changed, but they didn’t meet my target for this inspection, my target was that by today (September 15), they would have finished the minor stations, but they gave an excuse that because of Covid they hadn’t enough engineers on site. What you have is the same engineers supervising Agbado and Agege, so they move in between and that is slowing down the work.
“As for me, I want this job done because I want to move out of Lagos. Their submission is that by next week, all engineers will be on site and work will commence and once work commences, they will be faster and by the end of September, they should finish the three major stations.”
Reacting to the accident that occurred in Oshodi on Monday, Amaechi said the Ministry would collaborate with the Lagos State government to ensure fencing of the tracks, which he said has already began in some parts to avert such incidents.