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The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed worry about a number of unforeseen challenges affecting the construction of a standard gauge railway line between Lagos and Ibadan.

Amaechi said the project contractor, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, had to contend with a number of obstructions on the rail line’s right of way such as houses, companies, gas pipelines, water pipes and overhead bridges.

He reveal that the  Federal and Lagos State Governments have agreed to demolish two obstructing bridges in Lagos, the Ministry of Transportation is said to be discussing with relevant authorities to remove other obstructions on the right of way.

Speaking during the monthly meeting of the Project Implementation Committee with the CCECC on Tuesday, Amaechi said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had started the inspection of some of the gas pipelines on the right of way of the project in Ogun State, saying the inspection would be completed in two weeks.

The inspection took the team, which included the senior officials of the ministry and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, to the project sites in Agbado, Ijoko, Itori, Papalanto and Abeokuta.

“we are driving now to Abeokuta because we have some challenges over there. The contractor has identified over 1400 buildings to be demolished in communities along the projects right of way right inside Abeokuta in Ogun State.
” I will have to meet with the Ogun State Governor to discuss with him.
“In Lagos, we still have issues with some gas pipelines and water pipelines. The Army has given us the barracks at Yaba area, so work can commence.” He said.
 The minister said the government had settled property owners whose houses were affected in order to clear the land for the smooth take off of the project and also promised that laying of tracks would commence when the issue of right of way had been addressed.
It would be recalled that the $1.5bn project, whose groundbreaking ceremony was performed last year by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, then as acting president, is meant to be fully completed in December this year.