The Minister of Transportation- Honourable Rotimi Amaechi, has said that he disagreed with the slow pace of construction of stations along the rail corridor.
The Minister who gave the hint while fielding questions from journalists during the December inspection exercise of the project, however, lauded the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for laying tracks to the end of kilometre 156, which he said is the end of the contract.
The government is mounting pressure on the company to use locally sourced materials for the project to enable industries to create jobs for Nigerians.
According to him, “There are two things today, either you get angry because they are not working at the pace you want them to work, but they said they want to keep to their timeline. Their timeline is that minor stations should be ready in February and major stations should be ready in April. In which case, if you want to commission in April you can commission in April or you force them to speed up the process.
“I just told you that I quite disagreed with the pace of work in the stations. You would agree that this is the first time we are taking a train ride to Ibadan major station so we commend them that they have been able to get to the end of the 156 Kilometers.
“We should contract is from Apapa to Ibadan and the end of the Ibadan station is 156 Kilometers. And we have gotten to 156 kilometres. Even though they are going to work to 157, 158, that is just extra, by themselves not by the contract. When it comes to track laying and track construction, they have done well. We are encouraging them to as much as possible.
He reiterated that after the test runs which allow all passengers to ride free of charge from Lagos to Ibadan ends in April, the train services become commercial.
Also speaking, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC said there are plans to increase the number of Coaches on the route by end of January 2020.
The NRC boss appealed to Nigerians to always understand that government property is their own, and desist from vandalizing it.
“When you vandalize and remove that thing you think is minor, it can lead to death. So we should advocate and tell them that such an act is just like throwing a bomb in the market, you do not know whether it is your relation that will be affected. They should avoid it”
Fidet also said there are plans to continue to increase the frequency of train services and also the number of trains to ensure constant operations.