Two years and two months after the ground breaking ceremony of the $1.5billion Lagos-Ibadan gauge rail project, the Federal Government at the weekend declared the project 70 percent completed from Ebutte-Metta, Lagos to Ibadan, Oyo state.
The minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, however said from Ebutte-Metta to the Lagos Port in Apapa, the project is about 10 – 15 percent completed.
The project was originally designed from Ebute-Metta to Ibadan but the minister extended it to Apapa to make it possible for mass movement of cargos in order to reduce the prevalent congestion in the port.
Amaechi spoke at the weekend during the inspection of the project as well as a valedictory project steering committee meeting held with the contractor, the Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) in Papalanto, Ogun state.
Amaechi on Friday and Saturday led officials of the Ministry and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) led by its Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria on the inspection which took them to Apapa Port and Ibadan on Friday and Saturday.
The minister said on Friday that track laying for the project had reached 123 out of the 156-kilometer stretch of the project, adding the track laying would soon get to Ibadan.
Daily Trust reports that virtually all the civil works comprising 21 bridges have been completed; all beams erected.
Also, it was observed on Saturday that a new bridge has been constructed at Costain ahead of the demolition of the existing bridge which was earlier earmarked for demolition.
According to the NRC MD, a new bridge in Jibowu will soon be constructed to replace the existing one marked for demolition.
Similarly, the team inspected the construction of stations which have also reached advanced stage except for Apapa station where some properties were to be demolished to give way for expansion and future developments.
The minister however directed the NRC to evaluate the properties leased out by the corporation to many companies and businesses in Apapa, saying those whose leases had expired would be sent packing while those with existing leases would be duly compensated.
He said there is need to create more room for the station in Apapa to accommodate shopping complex and hotel in future.
An emotional Amaechi said despite the humongous challenges experience in the Lagos corridor, he was satisfied with the progress of work.
“What is critical in life is that if you are given an assignment, do everything possible to deliver it. We have had confrontations here and there, we have had challenges. The first challenge we had was from Lagos State and in the process of finding a solution, the challenges we met in the Lagos sector of the construction delayed the speed in Lagos”, he said.
The minister said he felt gratified that the project got to Lagos from Abeokuta, Ogun state.
“I thank all of you who participated in the process and wish you luck if I don’t return to the cabinet or if I return to the cabinet and I don’t return to the Transport Ministry, that is for the President to decide”, he said.
Xia Li Jun, Deputy Project Manager of CCECC, lauded the minister for providing the right leadership which also encouraged the company to work night and day to deliver the much it has achieved.