The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said that the inauguration of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project has been delayed due to the surge of coronavirus infections across the country, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
This is coming after the Minister earlier announced that President Muhammadu Buhari would commission the railway project after several delays.
While making the disclosure in Abuja, Amaechi said that more than 60 staff on project site have been infected by Covid-19 while trying to complete the project.
What the Transportation Minister is saying
Amaechi in his statement said,
- “First, let us admit that over 60 of our staff, not ministry of transport staff, but the staff working on the rail project have been infected by COVID-19. Luckily, nobody has died and I pray nobody will die, but you see the kind of sacrifice everybody is making to get the rail to function.
- “They are people sacrificing their lives to get to that point, we are of the view when we made that decision that Nigeria will not say 2020 was a bad year, so remove one year and add another year to Buhari administration.
- “As far as we are concerned, we need to learn how to live with Covid-19. I really want to congratulate those that achieve that feat, we were to inaugurate first week in January. We had to stop those doing minor completion because of the rise in Covid-19 transmission. The timeline for the inauguration will depend on Covid-19. If Covid-19 stop today or reduces we will commission the project.”
Amaechi also warned that the train services on all route might stop if passengers do not adhere to COVID-19 protocol. He said,
- “We will allow the train to run but if we see that we are conveying passengers who have Covid from Lagos to Ibadan, we will stop it. Just like we are threatening to stop Kaduna-Abuja, if people don’t comply with the COVID-19 Protocol.”
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the mainline of the Lagos-Ibadan railway had commenced trial operations with passengers about a month ago. This was ongoing as the project went on with the construction of the rest of the work and all personnel working round the clock to achieve the commissioning date.
- This means that there will be further delay in the commissioning of the railway project which is expected to help improve the movement of cargoes and passengers across the country.