The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has directed CCECC, the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, to complete the Iju-Agbado section of the project in two weeks.
The minister gave the directive on Thursday while inspecting the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail project from Lagos-Abeokuta and Ibadan sections.
He wanted the Chinese firm to speed up ongoing work between Iju in Lagos and Agbado in Ogun, due to the high volume of passengers.
In the meantime, FG orders Importation Of 30 Coaches, 300 Wagons For Lagos-Ibadan Rail
The Federal Government has placed orders for the importation of 30 coaches and 300 wagons to be deployed on the Lagos-Ibadan railway when the project is completed. According to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the coaches and wagons will boost the movement of passengers and goods from Lagos to other locations in the South-West.
“We are expecting 30 passenger coaches and 300 wagons,” Amaechi revealed while speaking at a recent assessment of the ongoing work being done on the rail project by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company.
In his contribution to the discussion, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, said the NRC was also expecting two sets of Diesel Multiple Units, comprising 10 coaches each. “We are also expecting two sets of DMU made up of 10 coaches each,” Okhiria said.
It was reported on Friday that the Federal Government gave marching orders to the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail line to deliver the Iju (Lagos) to Agbado (Ogun) section of the project within the next two weeks. The government stated that although there had been a considerable improvement on the project, it was important to get the Iju-Agbado section ready this month as commercial activities were more pronounced on the specified location.
This came as a renowned economist and Chief Executive of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane, stated that the Lagos-Ibadan rail project would reduce inflationary pressures when completed.
Amaechi had directed officials of the CCECC to speed up work on the Iju-Agbado section of the project and get it ready for test-run in two weeks. Amaechi said,
“Getting to Abeokuta you will see that there’s an improvement but the problem they have now is the civil work between Agbado and Iju, which is critical to me because I don’t think passengers will go to Agbado to join the train. “I believe that the closer we are to Lagos the better for the rail and that is why I had to tell them to tell me what they will do about this before the next two weeks, although there’s a huge improvement up to this point. I want them to speed up the construction from Iju to Agbado.”
He said he would come for a test-run on Jan.14, to ensure that the sections were completed.
“The problem the contractor has now is the civil work between Agbado and Iju which is critical to me because I don’t think passengers should go and board train from Agbado.
“I believe that it is important that the closer we are to Lagos, the better for the rail.
“That is what we are battling now because I want them to use the same speed noticed in some sections in the construction of Agbado area to Iju.
“They want us to flag off from Agbado but I don’t want because I feel Iju will be more appropriate to flag off and they said they will be ready with that axis in two weeks.
“ I think we should get to Iju because it will not be wise to drive from Lagos to Agbado to board train,” he said.
According to him, the slow pace of work witnessed on the project was due to inadequate equipment and manpower.
“They argued that lack of equipment was responsible for the pace of work because the equipment were not on-the-shelf equipment that can just be picked and paid for.
“What is causing the delay on the Agbado to Iju axis is equipment related.
“The equipment have to be applied from overseas, we will have to wait for the processing and then ship them down and if we wait for those equipment, we might be finishing the job when the equipment will arrive.
“We are expecting 30 passenger coaches mixed with locomotive wagons, 300 wagons and two sets of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) made up of ten coaches each and two motorcars will arrive Lagos before the construction work is completed,” he said.
Daily Trust Saturday observed that the tracks would have been completed from Iju in Lagos to Abeokuta if not for the construction of a bridge.
“As long as the bridge is constructed and we are able to move our equipment, you can be rest assured that the entire stretch of the tracks from Iju to Abeokuta would have been completed,” the minister added.
However, it was gathered that the contractor still has a lot of work to do from the Abeokuta to Ibadan section as the minister also pointed out.
Amaechi is expected to meet with the CCECC management and that of the project’s consultant, TIM, to deliberate on how to fast-track work on the Ibadan axis.
According to the newspaper, sources have said the minister is currently sustaining the pressure on the contractor to deploy more equipment and personnel to Ibadan, while effort is ongoing to address the encumbrances in the Lagos axis up to Apapa.
CCECC Project Coordinator, Leo Yin, assured that the company would sustain the tempo in line with the minister’s directive.
Yin said the feat which made the minister and his team to ride on the 32-kilometre stretch of the track was due to the fact that they now worked day and night.
“Over 9000 Nigerians, including engineers and artisans, have been employed in the project”, he said.
Speaking on the ongoing Itakpe-Warri test-run, the minister said it would extend to May after which it would commence commercial activities.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a train car test-run was done from DK37 Kajola to DK75 Itori in Ogun which was about 38 km from Agbado to Abeokuta axis.