LAGOS-IBADAN RAIL: FG raises concern over kidnapping of expatriates

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The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday, raised questions over the safety of foreign expatriates that will be drafted to work on the $1.5 billion Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.

President Buhari with Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki, at the commissioning of Abuja-Kaduna segment of the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project in Idu Abuja on 26th July 2016

This is even as he admonished the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to meet with the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) concerning the safety of foreign personnel that will be working on the hinterland sections of the project.

Speaking during his monthly assessment meeting with CCECC, the contractor handling the Lagos – Ibadan rail project, Amaechi said he has already discussed with the police IG and COAS of the Army concerning provision of security ahead of the expected work that will be done on the hinterland section of the project.

According to the Minister, “CCECC needs to approach the police IG and the Army COAS as regards provision of security towards the commencement of work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge projects, particularly in the hinterland areas.

“ I have already discussed with the IG and the COAS, and I expect the CCECC to approach them for provision of security because I don’t want to hear that any foreign worker has been kidnapped while working on the rail project.“

On gas pipelines and sewage pipes delaying the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, the  Minister explained that resolution meetings will be fixed with the Nigeria Gas Company to resolve the gas pipelines issues.

In his words: “These are problems that are expected particularly when a project like this has to cut through an urban settlement like Lagos. We will meet with the Nigerian Gas Company to resolve this very soon.”

Amaechi who later toured sections of the Lagos-Ibadan rail projects in Ewekoro and Papalanto explained that two flyover bridges in Lagos will have to be demolished to create way for the rail project.

“This is a continuation of the narrow gauge line. The narrow gauge line has to come into papalanto at Kajola and Ijoko to create space for the standard gauge line going to Ibadan.

“ They have told me that by December, they will start laying the tracks. So by December 2018, it should be completed. There are no hitches in this part of the project unlike in Lagos were we have to pay compensation for gas and water pipes removal.

“At Ijoko, the train will go down three metres to accommodate the overhead bridge there. There are only two bridges that will go down for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project; and they are the Jibowu to Ojuelegba overhead bridge and the constain overhead bridge.

“ We will demolish them, rebuild them and raise their height so that the trains can go under them,” Amaechi stated while fielding questions from newsmen.

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