Nigeria: Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project - Amaechi Querries Pace of Work, Summons Contractor

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has queried the pace of work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, especially the Ebute Metta to Apapa seaport axis.

The minister also summoned the contractor, CCECC, to an emergency meeting on Thursday to explain why the pace of work has slowed significantly.

Mr. Amaechi who briefed journalists shortly after he inspected the ongoing modern rail facility said the excuses have been repeated over and over again adding that only a few stations progressed impressively.

"It's a mixed bag. In some stations, you are impressed, in others you are not. Last time we came here, we had to suspend work because they were using what we refer to as stone dust to do the foundation. Not much happened at Abeokuta Station. The worst is from Ebute Metta to Apapa that is painful and that will be the focus from now henceforth" he said.

"I have heard all sorts of excuses" he said, adding that he has summoned the contractor to a meeting with NPA on Thursday or Friday to resolve those issues.

"Again the second excuse they have is that their vessels are at the sea port they can't even berth because of the long queue. We will address it when we meet with NPA to see how they can come forward to berth. We really need to complete this thing as soon as possible," he said.

On the April may deadline, he said "I can't answer that question. Let me not continue to give you a date and getting to that date, you are not there. They are being political. When I complain the last time, they said minor stations will be completed in April. They won't talk about the major stations. I have told them the entire management of CCECC must meet with me on Thursday," he said.

He however said the tracks are ready. "If it's in terms of tracks, it's 100 percent complete. Apart from Ebute Metta but what you must know is that there are two contracts here. The first contract is from Ebute Metta to Ibadan" he said.

"The second contract is from Ebute Metta to Apapa sea port which is about 6km. And that's where we have been having problems. If you have been following this inspection, we have always had problems with Lagos because of the urban nature of Lagos," he explained.

According to the minister, complex demolitions are involved. "We have a lot of demolition to do. You have to deal with pipes, you have to deal with oil pipes even when you get to the sea port but in terms of tracks from Agege to Ibadan, it was smooth" he said.

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