Lagos-Ibadan Rail: I’m Not Satisfied -Minister
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said he is not satisfied with the level of work at the Lagos-Ibadan rail project. Amaechi, who expressed dissatisfaction after the monthly inspection of the project yesterday, said though he was not totally satisfied, there was justification of the delay in the pace of work as the rains have continually been obstructing the pace of the work. According to him, “No no no, I am not satisfied! But they have a reason for my not been satisfied. The problem is the rain. The work is progressing. You will agree with us that we are progressing. The problem is the rain. There is no way they would have gone extra with the rains. “At the meeting, they agreed that now that the rains are stopping, there will be improvement. Their fear however is that in the next one or two weeks, the rains may come but immediately after that, the work will pick up faster. “The case of one and a half year is the original time for the construction of the stations but we have insisted that they will finish it before December.” On the tracks laid already, the minister said “they have been able to lay 12 kilometers as against the 1.3 kilometers laid Last time. We are still not impressed with the level of work. Their argument is that the track laying is not the problem as they can lay as many tracks as possible any day but that the problem is earth work. They said if the rains stop, they can conclude the earth work which is at 90 percent. The remaining ten percent is between Iju to Ajeokuta. They said if the rains stop, they will finish the remaining ten percent faster. “They also said by the ending of September, they would have finished all the bridges between Iju and Ajeokuta but we are pushing that the contract is between Ebutte Meta to Ibadan and should be finished by December.” The minister denied the allegation that the company, CCECC are deliberating delaying the work and noted that even though, he is not impressed with the level of the work, he understands that the labourers are working under tight conditions and have even be charged to work on Sundays just to meet up with the target. He further explained that the Chinese could not be delaying the work since they are mindful of their government observing them from afar and monitoring their work and wants these projects completed on time. He noted that the federal government of Nigeria has paid their counterpart funds of N72 billion and therefore, the Chinese company will have to strive to complete the project on due time. On the employment of Nigeria engineers, the ministers said the CCECC have complied and employed Nigeria engineers and also, the ministry is pushing for the company to use more of the young engineers from the Ministry of Transportation.