The Federal government has said that the reason for rushing the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project is to decongest the Apapa seaport by putting all cargoes on the track and to reduce the discomforting gridlock in Lagos.
Speaking to newsmen during an inspection of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, insisted that it had nothing to do with the 2019 general elections, adding that once the project was completed, almost all cargoes would be put on track.
While responding to the question by the CCECC Project Manager on why the Federal government was rushing the project when the APC had won the presidential election, the minister said: “Was the rush because of APC winning election? As a Minister of Transportation, you are a minister of APC as well as PDP. It was not about the APC winning because I have always known that APC will win the election.
“The problem is that there is too much congestion at the seaport, and gridlock in Lagos. The moment we finish this rail, likely before December this year, we have to face Ebute Meta to Apapa, and the moment we finish it, nearly all the cargoes will be on the track.
“And once we put all the cargoes on the track, we would have resolved the problems of the gridlocks in Lagos and the issue of congestion at the seaport. That will equally create employment and economic growth and that is what the target of this government is. It is not about the APC or the PDP,” he said.
Asked whether he was impressed with the level of work, he replied: “What we are saying is that the pace of work at kilometer 110 to 121 and kilometer 124 to 157 appear to be slow. However, they have promised to increase their speed and it has to do essentially with the equipment.
“The excuses they gave about lack of equipment at the site is laughable. They claimed that the pressure of work, which was initially 10 years but reduced to three years is affecting their machines. They also claimed that the machines have broken down and are undergoing repairs at their workshops,” he said.
The former governor of Rivers state, equally reacted to the feasibility of President Muhammadu Buhari taking a train ride before his swearing-in on May 29, noting: “The target is 50 50. We can achieve it if we want to, but what is the benefit of insisting on the train ride before May swearing in when the contractor has given us first or second week in June.”