Following the slow pace of work on the Lagos axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project by the Contractor handling the construction work, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the Federal Government has issued a two week ultimatum to the Contractors to expedite the pace of work and complete the Lagos (Iju-Agbado) section of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail line. The Federal Government said the directive was in line with its commitment to completing the project in good time.
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi handed down this directive on Thursday, January 3, 2019 during an inspection tour of the project.
The Minister stated that he was not impressed with the pace of work from Iju in Lagos State to Agbado in Ogun State. He maintained that although the construction is well ahead of scheduled time and could be flagged off in its current state, but for the fact that there are more passengers from Iju than Agbado, it is logical to complete Iju-Agbado before flag-off. He noted “I’m not impressed, they want us to flag off from Agbado but I don’t want that because, I think the passengers are more in Lagos. And Iju will be the appropriate place to flag off. They said in two to three weeks, Agbado will be ready”.
“I have mixed feelings because getting to Abeokuta, you will see that there is an improvement, the problem they have now is the civil works between Agbado and Iju which is critical to me because I don’t think passengers should go to Agbado to pick the train. I believe that the closer we are to Lagos, the better for the rail, that’s what we are battling now” he stressed.
Amaechi added that it would be unfair to state the Contractor (CCECC) is not trying but it is expected that it achieve the same speed used in the construction of Agbado to Abeokuta for Iju–Agbado. He said “I may be pushing them a bit hard, but, I want the project delivered. Although, we cannot say that the Contractor is not trying, however, for commercial purposes, they have to complete the section so that passengers can board train to Abeokuta”.
According to him, “getting to Abeokuta, you will see that there is improvement but the problem they have now is the civil work between Agbado and Iju”.
The Minister further reiterated the Federal Government determination to extend the Standard Gauge Rail line to the Seaport in Apapa, Lagos which when completed will help to reduce the perennial traffic grid lock in the Lagos Seaports.
Hear him “I think also in the area of Seaports, clearing is not the problem as goods are cleared up on time but the problem is the movement of those goods. Most of the solutions to Lagos seaports is an efficient rail line. The narrow gauge is there and it is not efficient but the moment you fix it, then those goods will be transferred to the rail and the lock down will disappear. We need to push this work. Once they get to Iju, the next pressure I will put on them is to go from Iju to the seaport. The moment they can do from Iju to the seaport, then most of those goods, especially the ones going to Ibadan, will be on the rail”.