Although the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has reiterated his determination to deliver the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge lines under the construction of the Chinese construction companies at the end of the month of December 2019, there are question marks on this claim.
Stringent supervision of work by the Minister and his team has been observed quarterly, weekly and monthly strictly to ensure work in ongoing at the work-sites. The Minister has one of his meeting/supervision offices at Ibadan at the detriment of his comfortable oval office in Abuja to discuss fervently, the way forward about the construction and supervisory efforts managed by the Chinese team and their counterparts.
Invariably, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) is equally devising a strategy in reducing the dreaded grid-locks in Lagos, especially, the endemic gridlock at Apapa and environs causing a major economic stress in the commercial nerve centre of the country.
The NRC management strategized the idea of making certain verse land-mass in their compound at Ebute-metta (Railway Headquarters) where containers are stored in custody for the different owners of the consignment or products to arrange either train haulaging or vehicular haulage system to convey them to their varios places of utilization that is convenient for them.
Thus, the Railway management had devised a stratagem that is enabling the decongestion of road tankers/containers and other heavy duty vehicles causing grid-locks in Lagos environment that has over the years militated against the economic prowess in the LAGOS/Apapa entreports which are the citadel of the nations economic growth.
The Public Relations Director, Alhaji Yakub Mahmood enthused that the NRC is destined to do more especially now that the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge lines are practically forthcoming and nearing commissioning.
He reiterated that with the victory of the APC at the polls, thus, enabling continuum in governance and projects, consequently, the sky is the limit for the Corporation in executing and implementing all federal government plans for the polity designated for the Railways to execute.
With the demands for both passengers and freight services still beyond the delivery of NRC, the timely completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail would go a long way to dissipate the transport burden on that route, however, Amaechi’s previous promises on the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan railway hasn’t been kept.
Amaechi had said the project would be completed in 2018; only to say recently that the project would be completed by December 2019. What exactly should we expect? How credible can we rate the Minister and the NRC management?
The nation’s dream of establishing a railway facility that interconnects the entire nation is still far from the reality, but projects like the Lagos-Ibadan rail would augment the other modes of transport and the sector a positive face-lift.
Will Amaechi and NRC Meet the December 2018 deadline they have set for themselves? We would have to wait to find out!