Elections: Pressure mounts as offshore equipment delays Lagos-Ibadan rail

January 5, 2019 10:18 am

Ahead of next month elections, delays in the arrival of specialised equipment to complete the Iju to Kajola axis of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project has piled pressure on the Federal Government and the project contractor, China Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC).

This is even as the FG gave the CCECC two weeks to deliver on the project or risk non-approval of further Interim Payment Certificate (IPC) following the approval of N42bn just last week.

Speaking on Thursday during a routine inspection of the project, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said he was not impressed, adding that tracks have not been laid from Iju to Ijoko.

According to Rotimi Amaechi, “I am not impressed. There is nothing new. The pace is as if nothing happened.”

However, the contractor revealed that some of the equipment to fast-track the project were offshore, which the minister urged them to up their ante.

The Minister who alongside retinue of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) directors were taken on a train ride from Kajola to Abeokuta, warned that the railway needs to start operation before next month, especially before elections.

“There are mixed feelings in the sense that getting to Abeokuta, you will see that there is an improvement. The problem they have now is the civil works between Agbado and Iju, which is critical to me. The closer we are to Lagos, the better for the project. That is what we are battling here.

“The equipment we are talking of are not off the shelve equipment. Getting more hands is not the problem but getting the equipment for more hands to use is the problem. What we saw from Agbado to Iju is not a matter of more hands, its a matter of equipment. These are equipment you apply for from overseas and they ship it down. So if the equipment arrive, probably they will finish the job.

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“They have done the bridges in channel 76 and 77 and the tracks will be taken to 79 in the next two weeks,” the Honourable Minister of Transportation explained.

Rotimi Amaechi who was visibly disappointed further stated that “I am not satisfied with the state of the work I see here. By now Iju to Abeokuta should be ready.

“My expectations are yet to be met. Where I left the project two weeks ago is still where it is, and I’m not happy and your excuses are not tenable, so I’m giving you two weeks to get this rail fixed.

“With the way this work is going, I might be forced not to sign your Interim Payment Certificate (IPC) anymore except you meet up with the expectations.

“Last week I just signed N42 billion naira for you and I expected that if I’m making you happy, you should also make me happy as well by the progress of work.”

He urged the CCECC workers to speed up the project so as to avoid the rainy season that might start anytime from February.

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