Commercial activities to commence operation soon – Amaechi
- Written by Super User
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that commercial activities would soon commence at the Lagos Ebutte-Metta-Ibadan Railway corridor following the pace of construction activities by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
Amaechi stated this while briefing newsmen, after the Steering Committee meeting for the completion of the Lagos- Ibadan Rail line on 23rd July, 2018 at the Ebute-Metta Railway yard in Lagos.
He assured that the relocation process was on, and at least by December this year, commercial activities would begin on the Ebutte Metta to Ibadan rail corridor.
The Minister stated that he will ensure that Indigenous Engineers must understudy properly the details of the construction work and running of the entire rail line, to take over activities from the Chinese in the near future adding that providing support in the area of tactical training of Nigerians would further develop smooth relations.
“I have been to other countries, I’ve seen foreign companies engage indigenous qualified engineers, and ours can’t be an exemption, thanks for reminding me, my next inspection will be on the site to see how many engineers the company employed”.
He stated that “the Chinese people had become experts in rail construction because they were given the opportunity by the American company (General Electric) to be involved in the country's rail projects, if not, they wouldn't have gotten the expertise they have now”.
“I want them to engage local engineers to understudy their work and take over when they leave, our qualified engineers must understudy their work not just artisans or technicians but qualified engineers, in order to build an efficient workforce that will take over the rail service from the Chinese and maintain same effectively,” he said.
He assured that "Work on the Lagos Ibadan rail line is progressing rapidly", adding that demolition of structures on the right of way of the rail line was in progress as everything was being done to fast track the completion of the project.
According to the Minister, "What was a major challenge to rapid work on the entire rail line was the relocation of oil and gas pipelines located along the rail corridor and the two bridges within Lagos city that are standing on the right of way, but we have decided to take the rail line under the bridges to avoid demolition and reconstruction ".
He also disclosed plan to demolish, rebuild and expand the old Apapa Rail Station to have a warehouse, hotel and a shopping mall to serve Apapa Ports and the Seaport.
According to him, “This is not the size of station we are looking for around here. What we are looking for is a bigger station and this is too small, since we have the whole property down to the road”.
He noted that the best thing to do was to terminate the lease and repossess the land, demolish and expand the station, adding “that way you can have warehouses, a better and bigger station that will accommodate shopping mall and hotel”.
He also indicated that some shops within the Apapa axis would be demolished to give way for the expansion work and the provision of major access road.
The Minister asserted that the intended massive Rail Station would basically focus on passengers and freight purposes. Goods can be stored after clearance from the Port in the warehouse, adding that there is need to get the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) involved in the maintenance, marketing of freight and operations.
He commended the quality of work done on the Lagos/Ibadan Railway, describing it as a huge progress, commending CCECC for the quality work done both in the track laying and civil works from Iju to Ibadan.
Yetunde Sonaike (Mrs.)
July 31, 2018