“Despite issues of right of way and others impediments slowing down work on the ongoing construction of a new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said there is no going back on the December 2018 delivery date.”- Punch
The Chairman of the corporation, Usman Abubakar, gave the indication on Tuesday in Lagos after a meeting of the Project Steering Committee for the project.
The rail line is the first phase of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge line being constructed by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation expected to link the already completed and operational Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line.Abubakar spoke against the backdrop of fears that the project might be further delayed due to the recent development that some overhead bridges on Lagos and Ogun roads would have to be demolished and rebuilt to raise their heights.
There are also a number of buildings that will be pulled down along the railway corridor whose compensation has yet to be determined. This is in addition to the issue of a gas pipeline said to be on the right of way of the new rail line, which consultants and stakeholders are still trying to resolve.
But the NRC chairman said that a consultant was already compiling the list of those whose structures would be affected by the project for appropriate compensation.
“We have a whole lot of consultants working to determine appropriate compensation for people whose structures have to come down and they are already going about it and people are being paid,” Abubakar said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had inaugurated the rail construction earlier in the year in Lagos, saying about half a million jobs would be created through the project.
The new Lagos-Ibadan rail, spanning 156.65km, is a double line, which is the phase one of the 2,733km new Lagos-Kano rail line.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, recently said, “On monthly basis, we’ll try to review the performance of contractors so as ensure that we meet our target of laying this track by 2018 December.
“We are satisfied with the work done. Sand clearing has been done; we have started taking away the debris. Hopefully by 2017 December, they will start laying tracks; we believe that if they maintain the current speed, we should be able to deliver by 2018.”
The new Lagos-Ibadan rail line expected to cost N458bn is being jointly funded by the Nigerian and Chinese governments. While the Federal Government has paid N72bn as its counterpart funding for the project, the Export-Import Bank of China commits $1.275bn (about N408bn) on behalf of China.