The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Monday expressed disappointment with the slow pace of work being done by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), contractors handling the Lagos -Ibadan Rail project, noting a seemingly deliberate delay to complete the project.
“CCECC has not done too well. I used the phrase too well because at a time, they did us proud by trying to push this job”, the Minister quipped, even as the Managing Director Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiri observed that until the rail gets to Apapa port, despite the present challenges, the idea of embarking on the project has not been achieved.
Amaechi expressed his disappointment, stressing that the CCECC had no reason for its delay, while inspecting the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway line project in company of the Minister of Transportation, State, Gbemisola Saraki; Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria and Chairman, Board of Directors, NRC, Malam Ibrahim Al-Hassan-Musa, among others.
Amaechi began the inspection at Costain in Lagos State where a bridge is being constructed and later moved to inspect the Overpass at Asade level crossing at Agege, floor mill also in Lagos.
The minister also inspected construction works at the various stations along the 156km rail line corridor which included Apapa, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta and Omi Adio, among others.
According to the Minister, the contractors had no excuse to delay the project because they had all they needed for the project.
“They claim that at the end of the last government, we were owing them some money and we had not given approvals for the extra and additional jobs.
“But that’s not an excuse because we will still have given the approval. So they have slowed down so badly. We need to get them to that speed that they were before the last government was dissolved.
“We paid them on Friday. The cabinet and president have approved the additional and extra works so they have no excuse.
“So if we get the loan for Ibadan-Kano, we won’t have delays. We can then start quickly from Kano to Kaduna and Ibadan to Ilorin so we can quickly finish,” Amaechi said.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiri, also reiterated the need for the contractors to speed up work on the project.
He said:”I think our major issue now is to see how we can get to Apapa port, because without the track getting to Apapa port the idea of making this rail has not been achieved.
“We hope that by December we should be heading there since there is no major obstacle as all the obstacles have been cleared.
“They have made progress and we hope by November when the coaches come, nothing will stop us from running train till we get to Apapa.
Amaechi had on the last inspection expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done in most of the sites visited.
The federal government awarded the 6.68 billion contract to the CCECC on May 18,2018 to build a major segment of a railway from Lagos to Kano.