The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, stated this on Monday after the monthly meeting of the Project Steering Committee with the CCECC team at the Papalanto rail/work station in Ogun State.
Although he acknowledged that there had been remarkable progress in the pace of work done in the last one month, he noted the rainy season would pose a major challenge.
“The rain will be a major setback on the plans. The CCECC is the company that has to find the engineering solution to this. But whether they find a solution or not, the element cannot be ignored. That’s why I advised that they should work day and night to achieve the set goals,” the minister stated.
Amaechi also said the contractor would begin the laying of the track on the new line next month, and was optimistic that the December delivery date for the $1.5bn standard gauge rail line was feasible.
According to him, a train station in Abeokuta, Ogun State, had to be moved to the North-West to avoid demolishing about 1,004 buildings in the area.
Amaechi said the biggest challenge of the project at the moment was with the Lagos corridor where many utilities such as power lines, water pipelines and bridges were on the rail’s right of way, thus hindering the construction.
He stated that some water pipelines belonging to the Lagos State Government would have to be relocated.
The minister said a committee headed by the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Usman Abubakar, with the Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, and representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Nigerian Army had been constituted to come up with “the best engineering solution that would have minimal impact on the people.”
The new railway is the first phase of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge line with an extension from Kaduna to Abuja. The Kaduna-Abuja extension has been completed and running, while the Lagos-Ibadan is expected to begin early next year, with the loan request for the project already forwarded to the China Exim Bank for approval.