By Ignatius Ushie
Federal Government has expressed worry to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractors handling the construction of the standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan Railway over slow pace work on the project.
Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, after the monthly inspection exercise of the project on Saturday, expressed frustration over the slow pace of work on the project which was billed to be commissioned in April, 2021.
The Minister who noted that the remaining work of the project were things that are not too technical and can be handled easily expressed doubt that it can still be completed and commissioned within the targeted timeline of April, 2021.
According to him, “We can say to ourselves that we have tried from converting a bush into usage that will grow the Nigerian economy. For CCECC, am sick and tired of them and that’s why I asked them to see us on Wednesday, although most of the things remaining are minor and it cannot delay the movement of goods and services. They have promised to finish by the end of the month, okay I believe them but I want them to reiterate that.
“Team has also always complained that they don’t go by their work plan, Ibadan to Kano everybody must go according to work plan both in terms of payment, construction, inspection and everything. But when we start Ibadan-Kano rail it would be a different ball game and we will ensure they keep to plan.
“The speed has slowed down, we agreed with them that we will commission this April but who will commission this kind of thing.” he said.
The Minister also demanded that the contractors increase spaces for parking in some of the stations to accommodate more vehicles in case there is surge in future.
“We have asked them to increase the parking space for future purposes if there is surge in passengers there would be enough space for parking. The technical committee will resolve the case. The problem now is the flooding challenge which we asked the committee to address, Ajegunle community are complaining of the need to build an overpass and we cannot build an overpass everywhere.
“During the raining season we will observe where the construction has led to flooding as citizens that have given us land must enjoy the sacrifice they made and when it happens we correct those mistakes”.
Responding to a question on the Port, Amaechi said “the Permanent Secretary has been directed to discuss with the Nigerian Ports Authority, as the Tanker drivers disrupted the movement of train into the port and we have to stop them now, or we stop the owner of that terminal”.
On the date of commissioning, he said efforts are on to get an appointment from the office of the President for the date of commissioning, adding “once they give us date we will let the public know”. According to Amaechi, there are a lot of things involved in bringing the president to commission the project.
“If you look at the level of work, we cannot ask the President to commission this, but once we give CCECC definite time I know they will speed up. There are some minor things they still need to put in place but it’s taking them time to do that, some of those things should not take more than a day or two to put in place so am not so worried”.
On the Ibadan – Kano project, he said the government is waiting for China Exim Bank to disburse the loan meant for the project.