32km of Lagos-Ibadan rail test run completed
The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi on Tuesday, in the company of members of the House of Representative Committee on Land Transport, completed 32kilometers of the test run of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail.
This is even as the Minister of Transportation assured that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and some ministers will ride the train from Iju in Lagos to Abeokuta in Ogun State by the first week of January 2019.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Abeokuta after disembarking from the rail car that was used for the test run, an elated Amaechi thanked everybody that started the rail modernisation project with him.
“We thank the Chinese for these level of technology, but its high time we need to start building our own roads and bridges ourselves. Other countries are doing it, we cannot continue to depend on other people to develop our country.
“Today, I give credit to you the media for the efforts that have been put into this project since inception.
“Many times, while on inspection, buses conveying the journalists break down, and the convoy leaves the bus behind. I want to thank and appreciate all the journalists for their sacrifices on these project.
“We are gradually coming to the end of the project. We are just six kilometres away from Abeokuta, and I have been assured that by the first week of January 2019, the Vice President and some ministers will be able to ride on the train from Iju to Abeokuta.
“By the end of January, we expect to have commenced passenger train ride to Abeokuta. After then, we will begin to mount pressure on the contractor to build the stations.
“I have told the contractor to focus on building one track instead of building the two-laned tracks at the same time in order to avoid delay. After building one track, it will be put to use while the other track is been built.
“I want to also appreciate the members of the National Assembly who joined us today on this inspection.
“Today, the test run started from kilometre 41 and stopped at kilometre 73, meaning we did 32 kilometres of rail movement on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail. In the next two to three weeks, we will get to Abeokuta. For Iju, once the contractor completes a bridge in that area, we will just need another 14kilometer to get there. So by the first week in January, we should get to Iju.
“If the contractor continues to work at this pace that they are currently doing, we should get to Ibadan by the end of January. If we get to Ibadan, we will continue to run a free train ride on the standard gauge from Iju to Ibadan.”
On possible cost overrun, the Honourable Minister explained that all cost overrun will soon be forwarded to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
“We will soon be compiling the extra costs spent on the project and forward to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for necessary action. Extra costs like the demolition of the military barracks in Yaba, Lagos; demolished buildings in Abeokuta and many more,” Amaechi added.
The Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport Abdulmumin Jibrin commended the Honourable Minister of Transportation for a job well done. In his words, “With what we have seen today, we will like to commend the Minister for a job well done. My only disappointment is that the giant strides achieved on this project are grossly underreported.”