An outbreak of COVID-19 among the workers involved in the Lagos-Ibadan rail project in January stalled the completion of the contract, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi said the Federal Government had extended the project from its original destination at Ebutte Meta to the Lagos ports.
Addressing journalists after inspecting the three major and seven minor stations of the newly constructed standard gauge railway in Ibadan on Saturday, the Minister said the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractor handling the project, had connected the rail line with the Apapa port.
He said, “It is not clear when the project is to be commissioned as the earlier commissioning date of January 2021 was shifted due to the second wave of COVID-19. Sometime in January, over 60 workers on the site contracted COVID-19 which stalled the completion of the project.
“At the moment, it is observed that most of the mini stations are still undergoing finishing touches while the cooling systems have been fixed.
“At the Wole Soyinka Station, Abeokuta, another mega station, the cooling system is yet to be fixed as well as other facilities in the interior parts of the station,” he said.
The minister was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Magdalene Ajani; Chairman Governing Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Musa Al-Hassan and the Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria.
The government officials commenced the inspection from Ebutte Meta before proceeding to Apapa port.
Inside the port, the Minister frowned at the indiscriminate parking of trucks on the old narrow-gauge tracks along the corridor.
The Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, said the current frequency of the Lagos to Ibadan train service will be increased from once daily to twice daily in two weeks time.