The commencement of track laying for the 150km Lagos-Ibadan standard rail gauge project failed to commence last month as promised by the Federal Government, Daily Trust can report.
However, the contractor handling the project, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), is said to be progressing with other civil works.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had during the monthly inspection of the project in March disclosed that the track laying would commence in April.
Amaechi said while he was impressed with the pace of work, the commencement of the rainy season is a total setback but encouraged the contractor to work day and night to complete the surface work.
He said, “I am very impressed, the speed has increased. The doubt I had before on whether we can achieve this project by the end of the year appears to be clearing.”
Amaechi had also shifted the monthly inspection of the project site to April 30 but the inspection was postponed indefinitely. No reason was given for the postponement.
However, it was learnt that this may not be unconnected to the absence of the minister who has been personally supervising the project and putting pressure on the contractor to deliver on schedule.
Daily Trust learnt yesterday that the laying of track would have commenced before the inspection exercise to be carried out by the minister and other stakeholders.
“Yes I can confirm to you the laying of tracks has not commenced but the work is ongoing”, a source said pleading anonymity as it is only the minister that can speak on the project.
Also, officials of CCECC have often kept sealed lips on the project; always directing reporters to the company’s client which is the Federal Government.
However, a source said the committee put in place to remove all obstacles to the project – like bridges, water pipelines, among others – has been meeting and it has made significant progress in its assignment.
The committee, chaired by the chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Usman Abubakar, with the MD, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Army as members had been tasked to come up with “the best engineering solution that would have minimal impact on the people.”