Urban renewal extends Lagos – Ibadan rail line delivery date

David Adekunle, Shiktra Shalangwa

Nigerian government has attributed urban renewal in Lagos axis as one of the major factors delaying the completion of the Lagos /Ibadan rail gauge
The project which was initially scheduled for completion in November 2019 has now be shifted to April, 2020
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi  Amaechi while addressing Journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo state Capital during a monthly inspection of the Project, said building new flyover, overhead bridges, underpasses, pipes and sewage were slowing down the pace of work.
According to him, we pray that we don’t meet it in Ibadan to Kano. If we will meet anything like that, it won’t be in the magnitude of Lagos because it was a total chaos and we didn’t get the kind of support we needed initially but now we have it.
Amaechi who lamented on the cases pending in court and challenges with property owners along the track explained that the support could be the people and the fact was that some people are still in court over because of the land used were taken from them.
The transport minister noted that part of the challenges encountered is stealing of equipments along on the project site.
“We are confronting the challenges of stealing. We are beginning to hear about stealing. It wasn’t there at all for those who live in Lagos and Ibadan but now we are hearing that people are still our equipment.”
On the pace of work,  The Minister said “We will all agree that there is huge improvement. From the 20th of December when we will carry out the next inspection, we will get to this place which means that focus will no longer be on the track but on the completion of the stations and communication and signal. Once we get communication and signaling, we are out of Lagos-Ibadan.” he added.
He said the contractors of the project have complained that equipment have not arrived from China, but government has urged the to get some of the things from Nigeria.
“Before they wanted to import glasses and doors as if we don’t have in Nigeria, the pressure we are putting is now making them buy the glasses and doors in Nigeria and they are installing gathering which will quicken the process.”
Consequently, Amaechi said the China Civil Engineering and  Construction Corporation, CCECC which is in charge of the Lagos Ibadan railway Project is expecting equipments and in the next one or two months will complete the stations.
“They said by the time we come for inspection on the 20th of December, the track will get to Ibadan and the issue will now be the completion of stations, communications and signaling so that we can commence test running . We don’t have enough coaches and locomotives but we will start with as many as we can take pending when the 20 locomotives that we imported arrive. They will arrive end of December or latest second week in January, 2020.”
“The fact is that they can get to Ebute Meta soon but getting there without getting to Apapa will not achieve much because we need to clear the gridlock and the easiest way to do it is to get the track to seaports.”
He concluded that cargoes would be loaded to wagons and taken to Ibadan,  while contract for Ibadan-Kano as soon as money is available, work will start and the gridlock will be cleared.
Omolayo. A