By Adelola Amihere
As the countdown to the completion of the Lagos to Ibadan standard gauge rail line inches closer, two major railway contracts are currently awaiting approval by the Federal Executive Council in line with the federal government’s determination to build the country’s rail infrastructure domestically and across its border, the Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Amaechi has revealed.
The two contracts include the Port Harcourt – Bonny – Maiduguri standard gauge line and the Kano – Maladi, in Niger Standard gauge line which will pass through Kano, Dutse, Kazaure Daura Katsina -Jibya then Maladi.
The Minister made the disclosure while briefing Journalists at the end of the routine inspection of the Lagos- ibadan rail project at the Ibadan station yesterday.
Revealing further, he added that, “We are also pursing the loan for the contract which has been awarded for the Lagos to Calabar.
” We also expect that Ibadan to Kano will commence before the end of this year.”
Expressing his satisfaction generally with the progress made in the completion of the stations compared to his last visit , Amaechi stated that the contractors have given the assurance that the project will be completed by December with the exception of Apapa station.
“They have given us the following target- end of September, three stations will be ready, end of October, all the minor stations will be ready, end of December, everything will be ready. They are still keeping to the target of December
Speaking on the recent train accident in Lagos and the alleged attack on the Abuja bound train from Kaduna, the Minister expressed regret over the loss of life but insisted that Nigerians must be made to respect the right of way for trains or be made to face the law. These are just mischief makers repeating the same thing.
“And this also happened while we were e growing up; Children throwing stones at trains. They shouldn’t have arrested them. They should let them go because these are pranks children play. Yes they may have damaged the window which can be fixed. But you see, what they did was to frighten those who use the train’’.