The Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) has once again compromised the timeline for the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project as the April 2020 earlier projected is no longer feasible.
The disclosure was made by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday while inspecting the project, alongside the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemi Saraki, and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State from Apapa in Lagos State, up to Ibadan.
According to Ameachi, the current state of work on the over $1.5 billion project showed that the April completion date was no longer feasible.
The minister reportedly stated, “Looking at the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport. We’ll, however, continue to work and redouble our efforts to complete the project and meet set targets.”
A new date? Meanwhile, the minister did not disclose a new date for the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail. Recall that the Federal Government scheduled the completion of the rail to February 2020 before shifting to April.
Amaechi had disclosed during an inspection tour of the project in November 2019, that the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), had pleaded for additional two months for the completion of station buildings and communication signals.
“We are no longer giving ourselves the time, the contractor is the one giving us the time. The initial contract was from Ebute-Metta but because we wanted it to end at the seaports, we extended it and that is where the challenges are.
“The fact is that they can get to Ebute-Metta soon but getting there without getting to Apapa will not achieve much because we need to clear the gridlock and the easiest way to do it is to get the track to seaport, that way, cargoes will be loaded to wagons and taken to Ibadan.”
Also, the minister also blamed the delay in the project on dealing with urban renewal, building new flyovers, overhead bridges, underpasses, pipes, sewage, stealing of their equipment and lack of the needed support not initially gotten as some people are still in court over the lands taken from them.
Bottom line: The Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project, which was awarded in 2012, under the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, was meant to last for three years.
The project, which was expected to start in 2012 and end in 2015, faced several delays. The project is being executed in six phases, projected to cover 2,733 kilometres. The latest disclosure implies while Nigerians are anticipating the completion of Lagos-Ibadan railway, the long wait still continues beyond April.