FG approves commencement of work on Lagos-Ibadan rail project

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*The governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (3rd left); minister of transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi (3rd right); managing director/chief executive officer of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria (2nd right); chairman, APC Rivers State, Mr. Davies Ikanya (right); commissioner for works and infrastructure, Mr. Ade Akinsanya (left) and the commissioner for transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawanson (2nd left), briefing journalists shortly after a meeting with Amaechi in Lagos.

The federal government has directed the contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail construction to resume work as part of efforts to bring about permanent solution to the perennial traffic gridlock on the Apapa axis.

The minister of transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this to journalists in Lagos after meeting with the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja.

“You would recall that the federal government had commenced construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway and the focus was more on the Ibadan and Abeokuta axis because we had challenges in Lagos which included utilities and not much with the communities and I think I have to commend the communities that allow us use their land though we would pay compensation but not much. So, we are grateful to all the communities from Lagos to Ibadan.

“However, we have utility challenges both gas pipelines and water. Beyond the gas pipes, we also have challenges with bridges to either build or demolish. I remember when we said we wanted to demolish the Costain Bridge, everybody screamed and we had to invite the Lagos governor to assist us; he took us there and promised that he would pay the compensation.

“I like the fact that the Lagos State Government are also contributing to this whole efforts and so what we have come here to do is to ensure that there is a win-win situation and the Lagos governor has been very cooperative.

“He cooperated all the way from the beginning till now and what we have decided is that CCECC (Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company) should therefore move back to Lagos for construction to commence immediately in Lagos because we are insisting that by December, we should complete the Lagos-Ibadan Railway.”

In addition to the rail project, Amaechi disclosed that the federal government working on the roads.

He said a combination of the projects would facilitate seamless movement of cargoes from the Apapa ports.

“What we are trying to do there is to get a good road to evacuate cargos but it would be faster with the rail. So, while we are working hard to ensure that the rail is delivered by this year ending, the federal government has also awarded the contract to deal with the road from Apapa and Tin Can to enable us to evacuate cargos freely which is an addition to the rail,” said the minister.

In his response, Ambode praised the government for starting from the Apapa end of the rail project.

He said the development will go a long way to enhance movement of cargos from Lagos to other parts of the country.

“Lagosians would recollect that in the last three weeks, we have had issues with the Apapa gridlock and two times, Mr. Vice President had actually visited Lagos and promised that a lot of remedies would take place.

“We want to use this platform to say a big thank you to Mr. President and the federal executive council for approving the reconstruction of the Tin Can-Apapa-Oshodi Expressway up to the Toll Gate which was done yesterday. This is in continuation of our efforts at finding permanent solutions to what has been happening in the Apapa axis.

“We also want to say a big thank you to the minister of Transport and minister of Works because the rail construction that is coming up and will commence in Lagos from next week is actually from the Apapa ports up to the Ibadan axis which means that we are having a two-pronged approach to be able to cart away cargos from Lagos to other parts of the country,” he said.

He also applauded the federal government for approving the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway as part of efforts to finding lasting solution to the perennial traffic gridlock around the axis.

Ambode also said his administration would collaborate with the federal government on the implementation of projects that will make life comfortable for the people.

“We just want to say that we reiterate the commitment to collaborate with the Federal Government as a state government to ensure that we reduce the sufferings of Lagosians and I am happy that we have come out from this meeting stronger together with the federal ministry of transport to make sure that this particular rail project is delivered within the next six to twelve months.

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