By Omotilewa Quadri
A spate of challenges stalling smooth working has put in doubt the feasibility of completing the standard guage rail project between Lagos and Ibadan by a December 2018 deadline.
Some of the obstructions include the various water pipes, gas pipelines and bridges, among others.
While the Federal and Lagos State governments have agreed to demolish two obstructing bridges in Lagos, the Ministry of Transportation is still interfacing with relevant authorities to remove other obstructions on the right of way.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, while briefing newsmen after the monthly meeting of the Project Implementation Committee with the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), the contractors handling the $1.5bn project, declared that they are now “battling with time schedule”.
He disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has started inspection of some of the gas pipelines on the right of way of the project in Ogun State, saying the inspection would be completed in two weeks.
The inspection took the team, which included the Senior officials of the Ministry, Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, among others to the project sites in Agbado, Ijoko, Itori, Papalanto and Abeokuta.
Residents whose homeS are in the rail’s right of way have been removing rooftops, blocks and other useful materials from their homes before demolition.
The Minister said the government has settled property owners whose houses were affected in order to clear the land for the smooth take off of the project.
Asked when the laying of tracks would commence, the Minister said this can be determined when all issues of right of way are sorted, adding that the Ministry was collaborating with relevant stakeholders including the Lagos and Ogun State government officials to address the challenges.
He said the target of the contractors was to finish all civil works before the commencement of rainy season.
“We still have challenges with water pipeline in Lagos; and gas pipeline. We are also having problem with the barracks as you can see the Army people are here. But we are all working together,” he added.
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