By Salome Columba

The Federal Government has announced that it will actualise the linking of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line to the Apapa port by the end of this month.

Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, disclosed this in Lagos yesterday, noting that a Customs building housing a radio-active scanner had been obstructing the complete extension of the rail track to the port quay.

She spoke while addressing journalists after an inspection of the affected building at the APM Terminals in the Apapa port.

She said, “By the end of this month, we want to ensure that the removal of this Customs facility which is on the rail track is resolved. The goal is to have this track operational by the end of this month.”

According to her, in the interim, a diversionary line is being constructed while experts’ advice was being sought on the demolition of the Customs scanner building.

Senator Saraki said, “We are here to look at the issues affecting activities to connect the rail to the Apapa seaport.

“As you can see, the construction of this standard gauge has been ongoing for more than two years and I came here to inspect the activities.

“We want to ensure that before the end of next month, the activities here have improved.”

She also said, “Although this building looks big, it is actually a minor issue that will be resolved by the time the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seat together to discuss it.”

When asked why the delay over the removal of the Customs scanner building, Saraki said, “Inside the Customs building are radio-active scanners that can be injurious to human health and well-being. So, it is not a building that can just be demolished like any other property.”

At the Tin-Can Island Port, the minister inspected some failed berths and collapsing quays at the Five Star Logistics Terminal and Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), and revealed that efforts would be geared to repair them without disturbing port operations.

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