President Muhammadu Buhari would soon be invited to perform a virtual commissioning of the Itakpe/Warri standard gauge railway for commercial use. Minister of Transportation Rt.Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said.

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Amaechi who spoke during an inspection tour of the project facility in Warri, Delta State on Saturday, also commended the contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Technique, Engineering, Architecture, Marketing (TEAM) and Julius Berger for a job well done.

He said the contractors lived up to expectations in terms of quality job delivery. “We are planning for the President to perform virtual commissioning of this project. The contractors have since concluded their jobs and left the site, the only contractor left is the CCECC, and they will soon leave the site as well and hand over the train to NRC.

We’ll know if NRC has done a good job when they manage it properly because the issue is maintenance.

“I am satisfied with the job done by the CCECC, TEAM and Julius Berger.  The contractors must be commended for a good job delivery,” he said.

Amaechi also restated that out of the ten stations completed, President Buhari had approved that the main station in Agbor is named after former President Goodluck Jonathan. “President Muhammadu Buhari had already approved the naming of Agbor station after Goodluck Jonathan”, he said.

Speaking further on the safety of passengers as regards the Corona Virus Pandemic, Amaechi explained that proactive measures would be put in place by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to protect the lives of all passengers.

He said there would be strict adherence to the NCDC guidelines and procedures by the passengers.

According to him, “We are going to abide by the guidelines of the COVID-19 Tax Force. Every passenger (s),  no matter how highly placed must obey the rules. Everybody must wear their facemasks and come with their sanitizers before boarding the train.

We’ll also abide by the committee’s directive of three-metre distance, that’s why we are reducing the number of passengers from eighty-eight to 40. We will also increase the number of policemen for the enforcement of law and order in all the coaches”, he said.

Amaechi assured that cargo operations would commence immediately as soon as discussions were concluded between Dangote and Bua cement.

While also noting that the COVID-19 Pandemic had slowed down project delivery particularly on the Lagos-Ibadan railway, the Minister said the situation would not deter him from performing and delivering on his assignments.