The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has tasked Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail to complete the project within five months.
The Minister made this known on Saturday in Lagos when he recommenced inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project in the company of his Information and Culture counterpart, Ahaji Lai Mohammed, who noted that funds is not the challenge being faced on the $1.6 bn project but rather lack of workers.
Amaechi argued that COVID-19 has come to stay thus, Messrs CCECC are to devise measures of completing the project, while urged them to procure personal protective equipments for their workers as no excuse for failure would be accepted.
He, therefore advised the company to adhere to safety measures such as compulsory use of masks and safety shields by all workers in order to get the required number needed to work in all stations. On the Ibadan-Kano $5.6 billion rail which is yet to commence, Amaechi stated that government is yet to secure the loan facility from China, Export-Import Bank, assuring that it remains a priority project of the present administration.
Asked about his impression about the project, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was visibly very impressed said: “I am very impressed. The reason we brought you here is to see that it is not a concocted story. This is the reason why we are borrowing the money so that Nigerians can travel in dignity and comfort”.
He further explained that “monies borrowed are not for grandiose display nor for overhead or running costs for the nation but rather are for capital projects which on completion would create jobs and provide needed infrastructure for Nigerians”, adding that there is nothing bad in borrowing so long as it is used to provide improved service delivery for the people as he applauded Amaechi for the passion exhibited in driving the project and urged CCECC not to disappoint.
On his part, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, during the media briefing disclosed that the corporation is working out modalities on commencing operations on the Lagos-Ibadan and the Itakpe-Warri rail corridor in September.
Other dignitaries on the inspection tour included: the Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, the Board Chairman, NRC, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, among others.