The federal government on Monday urged the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway to speed up the work to enable the commencement of free train service from Lagos to Ibadan by November.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi stated this today when he inspected the project alongside the Minister of State, Sen. Gbemisola Rukayyat Saraki.
This was the first time Saraki would join Amaechi in inspecting the $2.1bn project, the star project in the Ministry of Transportation.
According to him, the contractor, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), reduced the pace of work when the cabinet was dissolved.
Amaechi said: “They (Contractor) need to increase their speed. They reduced their speed within the period that the government dissolved the last cabinet.
“Now, that we are back, my colleague, the Minister of State and I resolve to decide to push back the pressure to ensure completion.
“Our ambition is that by November we should begin trial of train services between Lagos and Ibadan for free.
“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. They claimed 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.”
Daily Trust reports that the contractor has already completed the track laying for the two lanes up to Ibadan end of the project from Iju in Lagos.
“The tracks are no longer the problem; the problem is now how to get them to finish the stations on time.
“They have promised that the minor stations would be completed in three months, but six months after they have not been completed,” he said.
“We know that by January next year, they are going to finish both the minor and major stations so that we can move on,” Amaechi said.
Saraki who said she was impressed with the magnitude of work carried out on the project described the railway modernization as a massive achievement by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
She urged Nigerians to continue to support the government in achieving “what is best for us as a nation.”