The Federal Government has explained that the early completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line will decongest the Apapa Ports and reduce the perennial Lagos gridlock by putting cargoes on the track and this will in effect ensure economic growth as well as create employment for the teaming youths.
The Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi made this explanation on Monday at Ibadan, Oyo State Capital shortly after inspecting the ongoing Railway project (Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Line).
According to the Minister, the pressure to complete the project was not for any political reasons.
His words, “The problem is that there is too much congestion at the Apapa Seaport leading to serious gridlock in Lagos. The moment we finish the rail project likely before December this year, we have to face Ebute-Meta to Apapa and the moment we finish it, almost all the cargoes will be on the track and the moment you do that you would have resolved the problem of gridlock in Lagos and the congestion at the Seaports. That will equally create employment, economic growth and that’s what our target is”.
“The rush is not about APC. As a Minister, I am a Minister of Transport for APC and PDP. It was not about APC or PDP. I’ve always knew that we would win”. He stated.
Amaechi also added that track laying of the project will be concluded by the end of May or first week of June this year even as attention will be giving to the construction of Stations, Signalling and Communication Systems.
On whether he was satisfied with pace of work on the Abeokuta-Ibadan axis of the project; He said, “What we are saying is that the pace of work at kilometres 110 to 121 and Kilometres 124 to 157 appear to be slow. However, they have promised to increase their speed and it has to do essentially with equipment. The excuses they gave about equipment at the site is laughable. They claimed that the pressure of work is affecting their machine. They also claimed that their machines have broken down and are undergoing repairs at the workshop but in a nutshell, we have just reviewed the entire 157.5 kilometers of the railway project and came to the conclusion that they have done well”.
” We have given them a target that by the next inspection in May, they should get to Kilometers 121 and 130″.
Meanwhile, on the Abuja-Kaduna route which has witnessed upsurge of passengers in recent time, the Minister directed that the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria to deplore two additional Coaches to the Abuja-Kaduna Railway Services from the Itakpe-Warri Railway line which has less passengers to arrest the upsurge situation of passengers on the route.
He added that the Federal Government would soon bring in more Coaches and Locomotives from China.