The minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has set December, 2019 deadline for the free test run of the Lagos to Ibadan train stations.
The minister, who stated this at the inspection of the ongoing work at the Lagos to Ibadan sites on Monday, gave the contractors November 25, to complete the minor stations and noted that on November 25, one track should run from Ebutte Meta to Ibadan.
He said: “On the 30th of Move, we will commence test run but the issue is that we want to start it from Ebutte Meta but they are saying Iju will be ready. As far as Lagosians are concerned, Iju is in Ogun state. I just want them to get to Ebutte Meta.
“The reason why it will happen is because of the fact that other coaches are coming. They (coaches) will come before Christmas. However, even if they arrive in second week of December, you don’t know how long it will take them to be cleared from the seaport. Once is cleared from the seaport, it may take one or two days to get here.
“But I will struggle to make sure that before Christmas, it happens. But even if it does not happen, the new two coaches will be available. The only problem with this is that we will insist on 24 passengers on each coach, making it 48 for the two.
“They (contractors) said the reason for the delay is due of bad weather. Why weather will be a problem is because we are on the track and we are insisting that they must get to Ebutte Meta by the end of November and they are saying they don’t know if the weather is good.”
For the stations, he said: “We have eight minor stations and four major stations. It was good that they changed all their policies. They are bringing all materials from China; they are ready to work but they are waiting for materials from China but they have said that all materials will be gotten locally now. Why do they have to import doors, windows from China?
On Kajola factory, he said: “In signing the agreement between Nigeria and the Chinese company, we agreed with them that they should produce most of the materials they need locally and they said it would be a bit difficult for them. So we reached an agreement that they should start assembling wagons. Five years after that, they should start producing wagons and assembling coaches and locomotives and ten years after that, they should start producing locomotives and coaches here.
is that if they produce, we will buy from them instead of buying from outside and I told them that we will enter into agreement to buy from them. That way, we will be able to pay naira and save the scarce dollars that we have.
“We are not contributing anything to the establishment of the factory and the transport university. It is their own investment.
“ The implication is for them to look at the benefit. The assembling company, I must state belongs to the Chinese. The most important thing is that it creates employment and improves the economy which is our target at the end of the day.”