The Federal Government is hopeful that the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail will attract more passengers to use train services in the axis as a means of transportation.
According to thenationonlineng.net, the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi stated this after the routine inspection of the project for the month of February.
Amaechi who expressed satisfaction on the level of work said despite the hiccups he is proud of the CCECC and the project.
Amaechi was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr Mrs Magdalene Ajani, other top management staff, the Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation Engr Musa Al-Hassan, the Managing Director Fidet Okhiria, top officials of the contractor and TEAM Engineering Consultants, supervising consultants of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge.
Amaechi expressed satisfaction over the track laying into Apapa, even as he disclosed that the NPA Managing Director Hafiz Bala Usman has been directed to ensure that all impediments on the Right of Way of the project be removed and the project continues unimpeded.
He said: “I have seen that there is still so many impediments preventing the project into Apapa. But we have directed the NPA to ensure that all those impediments are removed that we would achieve the intention of Mr President to take the train into Apapa.”
Addressing the issue of workers who were said to have contacted COVID-19 in January, the minister said they are all back and have resumed work on the project.
The Minister had mid -January issued a statement indicating that no fewer than 60 workers working on the project had contracted the dreaded disease, which he said would affect the delivery deadline earlier slated for January end.
Amaechi was however circumspect in giving a new date for the delivery of the project to Nigerians, saying that he is comfortable that the project is back n stream after the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You will recall that all through last year we battled with the disease and just as we were expressing happiness that we have wrestled it down, we entered the second wave almost immediately in January. I was very afraid when I saw the figure in January overshooting 1,000 and I said I won’t come to Lagos for any inspection, but thank God, it has gone back own to 600 and now e are back.”
On the issue of the stations, Amaechi said he has directed that central air conditioning be installed in the three major stations of Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan, adding that he will not sign off for the full operations of those stations until this is done.
Speaking on the Ibadan-Kano construction, he said the Federal Government is waiting for the approval of the proposed loan from the Chinese government, adding that work would begin on the project once the loan is secured.
He said the Federal Government is committed to ensuring the completion of all train projects and to ensure that the contractor bequeath to Nigerians a train service that is comparable to anywhere in the world.
Also girdling questions, the NRC Managing Director Fidet Okhiria said the corporation would be running 16 trips daily on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge.