The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the problem confronting the completion of the Iju-Agbado axis of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line has to do with lack of equipment.
He made the disclosure on Thursday during his monthly inspection of the project, saying that was the excuse the contractors handling it had given.
His words: “They argued that lack of equipment was responsible for the pace of work because the equipment are not on the shelf that can just be picked and paid for. What is causing the delay on the Agbado to Iju axis is equipment-related.
“The equipment have to be brought from overseas. We will have to wait for the processing and then ship it down and if we wait for those equipment, we might be finishing the job when the equipment would arrive.”
The minister said he was very particular about the work between Agbado and Iju, reasoning that it would be wrong for passengers to go to Agbado from Lagos to board train.
“I believe that it is important that the closer we are to Lagos, the better for the rail. That is what we are battling now because I want them to use the same speed noticed in some sections in the construction of Agbado area to Iju.
“They want us to flag off from Agbado, but I don’t want because I feel Iju will be more appropriate to flag off and they said they will be ready with that axis in two weeks. But I think we should get to Iju because it will not be wise to drive from Lagos to Agbado to board train,” Amaechi said.
The minister also spoke about the challenges at the Lagos seaport, saying that the problem had to do with inability to move the goods out of the port.
He said as far as he was concerned, the goods were cleared on time but because of the poor rail system, it had been impossible to move the goods.
Said Amaechi: “The problem at the Lagos seaport is not clearing because goods are cleared in time. The problem is movement of those goods out of port.
“I am not under pressure from anybody. Part of the solution to Lagos seaport is an efficient rail line. You can argue that the narrow gauge is there, but it is not efficient. The moment we fix this, those goods will be transferred to the rail and the logjam will disappear.
“So the pressure is more economic than political or people-based. Once they finish Iju, I will push them to go to the seaport. Once that is done, there will be no more logjam and then businesses will grow, which will create more employment.”