Following the determination of the Federal Government toward the early completion and commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway Project, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in company of Members of House Committee on Land Transportation led by its Chairman, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin rode on a Rail Car from Km 40 by Adunbi Itori Village in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State to Km 76, thereby covering a distance of 36 Km fully completed with Rail Tracks.
Amaechi had promised Nigerians penultimate week during the Monthly Meeting/Inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan Project Steering Monitoring Committee that before the end of February 2019, train will run on the newly laid tracks of the first Standard Gauge Rail Line in the Country from Iju in Lagos State to Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
The Hon. Minister marching his words with action invited Press Men and Members of the House Committee on Land Transportation to witness this historic occasion on Tuesday, 18th December, 2018.
Similarly, Rotimi Amaechi said that by January 2019, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and some Government Officials would be invited to be part of the second train ride from Abeokuta in Ogun State to Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to him, “This project is nearing completion, right now, work has advanced and we are six kilometres away from Abeokuta. The Contractors have assured me that we would be able to ride from Iju to Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital by the first week of January, 2019. The idea is to bring the Vice President and some Ministers to join in the ride”.
He stated that once the track is flagged off, the route would be opened for free one month test run by passengers. He added that emphasis will be on the laying of tracks until the whole Rail line is covered.
On how to procure Wagons and Coaches to be used on the Lagos- Ibadan Standard Gauge Rial Line, the Minister disclosed that he had approached the Minister, Ministry of Solid Minerals to avail the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) of the Wagons and Coaches meant for the Ajaokuta Steal Company which are presently lying unutilised as a result of the closure of the Company to be deployed to the Lagos-Ibadan Railway.
The Minister and members of his entourage commenced the inspection tour from Ebute-Metta Railway Station in Lagos, which construction is ongoing and drove in convoy from there through the 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos to Adunbi Itori in Ogun State before the team disembarked from the Vehicles to join the Car Rail and continue with the journey.
The Minister while commending the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the major Contractor handling the construction work for achieving appreciable level of progress on the 156 Km Standard Gauge Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project especially, the portion between Lagos and Abeokuta under one year of the 3 years contract, advised Nigerians to have the spirit of developing their own technology instead of relying on foreign technology.
Amaechi, however expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work on the Abeokuta to Ibadan portion of the Standard Gauge Rail Line.
Commenting, the Chairman, House Committee on Land Transportation, Abdulmumin Jibrin said that he was overwhelmed with the massive construction works going on in that region. He praised the efforts of the Hon. Minister for a job well done but regretted the inadequate publicity given tothe Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project.
He said, “it has been front and back and disagreement between us and the Minister and he said to us, come and see what we are doing and we are here to see the situation on ground. You will be so unrealistic as a person if you do not accept the reality that so much work has been done here”. He continued “we have driven from Lagos to Abeokuta and we have seen massive, massive work going on here. Time line is three years and under one and half year, so much has been accomplished. I just want to advise the Minister to do more and publicize this massive work that is going here. It is commendable”.
He promised that Parliament would support the Hon. Minister and Ministry in order to achieve the set objectives and policy trust of government as it concerns the Railway.