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Lagos-Ibadan train: Minister reads riot act to terminal operators
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday said there was no going back on the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train on January 2021.
Amaechi said he had already informed President Muhammadu Buhari about the commissioning, saying that the project must be completed up to the Apapa terminal extension.
The minister was speaking when he visited the APM Terminal at the Apapa Port Complex in Lagos alongside the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhassan Mahmood, the Managing Director of the Engr. Fidet Okhiria, his Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) counterpart, Hadiza Bala Usman, among others.
The visit to the APMT followed the delay in the laying of tracks within the Apapa port terminal with the contractor, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) complaining of not getting the requisite cooperation from the terminal operators.
But the Minister who visited the APMT ordered the operators to allow the contractor access to the construction area as contained in the project design.
He said that the January 2021 commissioning of the project by President Buhari is sacrosanct and the project must be completed up to Apapa.
He said, “I have already told the President we are commissioning in January. So there is already an answer and we are working towards that answer and we must achieve it that time because the President is aware.
“By Monday I am going to the President’s office to give them a date and it must be January. This is not a political statement and it is not going to be Ebute-Metta to Ibadan. No. What is critical is that we must find a solution to the gridlock. The moment we begin to move wagons from the seaports at least to Ibadan, pressure on Lagos will reduce drastically and that is my objective.”
The MD of NPA also reiterated the directive asking the APMT to cooperate with the contractor to work according to the design and specifications.
She said it is not for the terminal operators to dictate to the government, stressing that everybody is duty bound to comply with the directive of the government to allow the contractor seamless access to the ports to lay the track.
The APMT however assured the Minister of complying with the directive.
Daily Trust reports that the minister is also expected to meet with the terminal operators on Sunday to iron out some of the issues delaying the construction work within the Apapa Port terminals as government races to meet the January 2021 deadline.