FG asks La­gos-ibadan rail­way con­trac­tor to work day, night

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Rasheed Bisiriyu

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has ad­vised the con­trac­tor han­dling the 150-kilo­me­tre La­gos-ibadan rail­way project, China Civil En­gi­neer­ing Con­struc­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, to work day and night to avoid ex­tend­ing its de­liv­ery date be­yond De­cem­ber this year.

The Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion, Mr. Ro­timi Amaechi, stated this on Mon­day af­ter the monthly meet­ing of the Project Steer­ing Com­mit­tee with the CCECC team at the Pa­palanto rail/work sta­tion in Ogun State.

Al­though he ac­knowl­edged that there had been re­mark­able progress in the pace of work done in the last one month, he noted the rainy sea­son would pose a ma­jor chal­lenge.

“The rain will be a ma­jor set­back on the plans. The CCECC is the com­pany that has to find the en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tion to this. But whether they find a so­lu­tion or not, the el­e­ment can­not be ig­nored. That’s why I ad­vised that they should work day and night to achieve the set goals,” the min­is­ter stated.

Amaechi also said the con­trac­tor would be­gin the lay­ing of the track on the new line next month, and was op­ti­mistic that the De­cem­ber de­liv­ery date for the $1.5bn stan­dard gauge rail line was fea­si­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to him, a train sta­tion in Abeokuta, Ogun State, had to be moved to the North-west to avoid de­mol­ish­ing about 1,004 build­ings in the area.

Amaechi said the big­gest chal­lenge of the project at the mo­ment was with the La­gos cor­ri­dor where many util­i­ties such as power lines, wa­ter pipe­lines and bridges were on the rail’s right of way, thus hin­der­ing the con­struc­tion.

He stated that some wa­ter pipe­lines be­long­ing to the La­gos State Gov­ern­ment would have to be re­lo­cated.

The min­is­ter said a com­mit­tee headed by the Chair­man of the Nige­rian Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion, Us­man Abubakar, with the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion and Nige­rian Army had been con­sti­tuted to come up with “the best en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tion that would have min­i­mal im­pact on the peo­ple.”

The new rail­way is the first phase of the La­gos-kano stan­dard gauge line with an ex­ten­sion from Kaduna to Abuja. The Kaduna-abuja ex­ten­sion has been com­pleted and run­ning, while the Lagosi­badan is ex­pected to be­gin early next year, with the loan re­quest for the project al­ready for­warded to the China Exim Bank for ap­proval.

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