By Seun Ibiyemi
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Friday revealed that the Iju to Abeokuta free train ride stoppage was because officials of the contractor, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) left the country ahead of the 2019 general elections .
According to the Minister, “The free train ride which is meant to run for three months was stopped because CCECC officials left the country prior to the elections. Now that they are back, I will direct that they resume the free train ride.”
He also said that the Lagos-Ibadan rail project slowed down during the elections because officials of the CCECC left the country , stressing that gaps have been noticed on the project, and is being worked on by the contractor.
According to the Minister, “I was not aware of this until now. They just told me that they usually travel if there is an election in any country that they are working in.
“On gaps noticed, there are places the contractor ought to have completed the civil works before the rains arrive. They have promised that before we come back on the 28th of March, they would have completed the civil works.
“We are pushing so that by the time we come back, they should have reached kilometre 95 in terms of track laying. We hope that by the first or second week in April, we should be very close to Ibadan.
“They are currently at kilometre 82 of track laying and have promised to be at kilometre 95 when we come back, I think that should be commended. What we have now are just gaps, that is coming to Ibadan around kilometre 136. By the time the rain starts, we expect them to have finished with the civil works.”
On adjustment in the total figure, Amaechi explained that the construction of bigger stations in Apapa, Ebute-Metta, Abeokuta and Ibadan has greatly altered the contract amount for the project.
“There are many things we didn’t foresee when we started this project, but we have now encountered, like the demolition of the military barracks, construction of bigger stations in Apapa, Ebute-Metta, Abeokuta and Ibadan. All these have greatly altered the contract amount,” the Minister stated.