By Adeyinka Aderibigbe
Minister of Transportation Mr Rotimi Amaechi on Monday admits the intense pressure of delivering on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge is already taking a toll on his health.
Amaechi who said he has never fallen ill disclosed that he fell sick two weeks ago, as a result of the pressure of trying to ensure the $1.5 billion project meets its December delivery deadline.
He spoke at the Ibadan, Oyo State capital’s China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) site office, where he had gone to monitor section three to four of the project, spanning between Ibadan and Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
He said: “Nigerians should at least try and give credit to the Buhari government for trying to deliver a three year project within 19 months.”
He said despite the slow pace, the federal government is determined to deliver the project by December, 2018, but not later than January 2019, adding that government expected to commence commercial services on the track by January 2019.
Amaechi also disclosed that federal government may have saved N2.8 billion in payment of compensation at the Ogun State segment of the project.
He said: “At our last meeting in January, the contractor told us some part of the MKO Abiola Trade Fair Complex at Abeokuta, and a housing estate comprising of 1004 buildings would Gage to e demolished for the project, but after we reviewed the submission, we had recommended that the contractor cod shift to the right of the right of way where there are fewer encumberances. If this advise is taken, we will be saving N2.8 billion in compensation and this is undoubtedly a huge sum that could have I creased the cost of the project.”
Amaechi also disclosed that he would continue to engage with the governors of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, and his Ogun and Oyo State counterparts Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and Abiola Ajimobi on helping to remove all public facilities that may impede the speed of the project.
Amaechi who observed that work wasn’t going on on all sections between Section three and four (between Odeda and Abeokuta) warned the contractor against slowing down the process, adding that much civil work ought to be completed before the advent of the rainy season.
Among those who accompanied the Minister on the tour was the chairman of the Nigerian Railway Cotporation Engr Usman Abubakar, Directors of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, TEAM consultants and other stakeholders.