Over 60 workers, who were working on the Lagos-Ibadan rail, tested positive for coronavirus while trying to complete the project, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Mr Ameachi disclosed this, on Monday, on a Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) programme, Good Morning Nigeria.
The rail project, which was delivered recently, and had since been in use, is the second rail project completed in 2020. The Itakpe-Warri was the first and was commissioned on September 29, 2020.
The minister had disclosed at the inauguration of elected members of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA) that the Lagos-Ibadan rail will be commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, in January 2021.
He, however, said the commissioning will be put on hold, due to the upsurge of COVID-19 in the country.
“First, let us admit that over 60 of our staff, not the ministry of transport staff, but the staff working on the rail project, have been infected by COVID. Luckily, nobody has died and I pray nobody will die, but you see the kind of sacrifice everybody is making to get the rail to function.
“They are people sacrificing their lives to get to that point.
“As far as we are concerned, we need to learn how to live with COVID. I really want to congratulate those that achieve that feat. We were to inaugurate the first week in January. We had to stop those doing minor completion because of the rise in COVID transmission.
“The timeline for the inauguration will depend on COVID. If COVID stops today or reduces, we will commission the project.”
He also said that the train services on all routes might stop if passengers do not adhere to the COVID-19 protocol.
“We will allow the train to run but if we see that we are conveying passengers who have COVID from Lagos to Ibadan, we will stop it, just like we are threatening to stop Kaduna-Abuja if people don’t comply with the COVID Protocol.”
He said that the Abuja-Kaduna route conveys about 4,000 passengers daily, stating that if anyone transmits COVID-19 onboard, it will be a serious challenge.