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Lagos-Ibadan rail: COVID-19 ‘sacks’ 70% of workers

January target for the commissioning may not be feasible.

The workforce for the Lagos-Ibadan rail line has dropped by 70 per cent following COVID-19 spike as the January target for the commissioning may not be feasible.

Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi had hinted on this in a recent television interview after he had earlier set January 2021 to commission the $1.6 billion project.

Findings by Daily Trust on Monday also revealed that the workforce on the site had been reduced to about 30 per cent.

China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractor working on the project, took the decision which had been communicated to the Ministry when some workers tested positive for the virus.

Commercial operations have commenced on the project with the train doing a daily return trip. A source working with the contractor said while work is still ongoing, the workforce has reduced.

“The second wave is really affecting the pace of work and like the Minister also said he is definitely not far from the truth.

“Yes some workers have tested positive for COVID-19 but I can’t ascertain the number,” the source said.

Amaechi said yesterday that 60 staff working on the project have been infected by COVID-19 while trying to complete the project.

According to a statement by his media aide, Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, the minister during a television interview 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.

“I really want to congratulate those that achieved that feat, we were to inaugurate the first week in January. We had to stop those doing minor completion because of the rise in COVID transmission.”

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