Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the Lagos-Ibadan train for standard gauge may kick off commercial operations in November this year.
The Minister made this known while on a tour of the ongoing project with Gbemi Saraki, Minister of State for Transportation, on Monday, September 23, 2019. He also said that plans were in the works by the federal government to commence train service trial on the Lagos-Ibadan route for the people.
Despite optimism for the commencement of operations soon, the Minister lamented that the project was moving at a rather slow pace, and charged the contractors to speed it up. He attributed the slow-down to the change in cabinet, and promised to ensure that the contractors delivered as promised.
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The Minister at the train project site
According to Amaechi, the project’s double lane tracks were at about kilometer 155. A major setback being experienced on the project was the completion of the various stations due to the cabinet being dissolved some time ago. He lamented that despite promises made by the contractors to have the minor stations ready in three months, they were yet to be ready six months after.
“We know that by January next year, they are going to finish both the minor and major stations so that we can move on.”
Addressing the Railway University project and that of the manufacturing factory, the Minister stated that a date had been secured from the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, for the factory project's ceremony. The ministry awaits the President’s return to the country to secure a date for the university project’s ceremony. Speaking further, he said that the federal government was yet to receive loans from the government of China and China Eximbank for the standard gauge lane between Ibadan and Kano. On their own part, the Minister disclosed that the federal government’s fund for the project was ready.
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Work in progress at the station
Saraki acknowledged efforts of the Ministry of Transportation in executing the mandate of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to resuscitate rail transportation, and make it an active player in boosting the nation’s economy. She was optimistic that the speed train would strengthen the sector and provide jobs to the youths.
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