BY FIDELIS UGBOMEH, Lagos
Fresh facts have emerged that the management of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) will in collaboration with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) commence commercial passenger train operations from Lagos to Ibadan next month.
The Minister of Transportation Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi who dropped this hint at Ibadan after an on the spot assessment of work so far done by CCECC on the Lagos to Ibadan standard gauge railway line said that the technical committee on the project will meet today to work out measures on how the operation will commence.
While frowning at the slow pace of work at some of the train stations, he averred that no new rail project will be embarked upon until CCECC submits a comprehensive programme of work that will be strictly adhered to.
He also enjoined the contractor handling the project to employ more workers as well as introduce shifting of staff to work day and night so as to meet the deadline.
Regarding linking the Apapa port by rail from Ebute-Metta Junction he said that tracks have been laid up to Ijora adding that what is hindering pace of work at the Apapa axis is the underground pipes laid by oil companies and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
He said plans are underway to schedule a meeting with NNPC with a view to ensuring that the underground pipes affecting the right of war are shifted so that the tracks could be laid.
On the Kano to Matadi standard gauge railway line, the minister said that when completed the rail line will boost economic growth as goods could be transported by rail from Lagos to Matadi in Niger Republic and stored in a warehouse pending evacuation to their various destinations.
He also faulted CCECC over the breakdown of one of the brand new locomotive engines imported from China two or three months ago, adding that the engines should at least function properly for at least five months before developing any fault.