By Seun Ibiyemi
Following the Apapa congestion that threatens the deadline of the $1.6billion standard guage railway, the federal government will be meeting with the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), CCECC and other relevant agencies on Thursday.
The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, said he is set to hold talks with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday over possible ways to solve the impasse.
Speaking after his routine inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Amaechi said not much has changed between Ebutte-Metta and the Apapa port.
The Honourable Minister of Transportation said, “Not much has happened in Abeokuta.
“The worst part of the project is Ebutte-Metta to Apapa port. The contractor is given all sorts of excuses, including complaining that their vessel carrying equipment meant for the project has been stuck amid the congestion issues at the ports.
“The vessel is yet to berth due to the long queue at the ports, so I will be meeting with the management of the NPA this Thursday or Friday to discuss on possible ways out of this.”
On proposed demolition of structures inside the port and the April completion deadline of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Amaechi explained that everything will be sorted out by Thursday or Friday when he meets with NPA management.
In his words, “I have asked the entire management of China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to be in the meeting on Thursday, we have to know what the delays are in the ports.”
On whether he is satisfied with the pace of work on the project, Amaechi stated that, “You need to understand that there are two projects here, Ebutte-Metta to Ibadan and Ebutte-Metta to Apapa. Ebutte-Metta to Apapa is about 5 to 6 kilometres. You people know the challenges we faced with the Lagos section of the projects due to its urban nature.
“In terms of tracks, I give them 100 per cent apart from Ebutte-Metta to Apapa, where we had to deal with oil pipes while approaching the seaport, so the issue of urbanisation really slowed down work in this section,” Amaechi added.
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Oluwaseyi Makinde said he is impressed with what has been done so far.
“If you look at the project, you will see that a lot of effort has been put in and so much work has been done.
“The project will bring Lagos closer to Ibadan and also improve the economy of our State.
“We have to key in into this project by building roads that will fit into the rail project. This project will definitely improve the economy of Oyo State,” Makinde stated.