Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari will be inspecting the Lagos-Ibadan railway line before his May 29 swearing-in ceremony, urging the contractor, CCECC to expedite action on the project.
Fielding questions from newsmen during an inspection of the project in Ibadan on Friday, he lamented that the decision of the foreign workers to leave Nigeria due to the 2019 general elections contributed to delaying the project, urging them to commence work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
On why the construction workers left the project site during the elections, the minister said: “That is their company procedure. They said where they are doing jobs and there were elections; they would have to go back to their country and come back after the elections.”
On whether the Federal government was informed about the plan before leaving the country, the minister replied: “No, we weren’t. We just got to know about it now.”
Amaechi further said that the government was pushing for the completion of civil works on the Abeokuta to Ibadan section of the project before the raining season fully commences, stressing: “They have promised that by the time we come on March 28, they would have gone far with the civil works.
“We are pushing that by first to the second week in April, they should be very close to Ibadan with the track laying. We are also concluding arrangements on how Mr President will take the train on inspection before his swearing-in on May 29,” he said.
Amaechi stated that he was pushing for the completion of the rail project because of the economic impact which it would have on Nigeria, emphasising: “The economy of Nigeria can be driven most importantly if you can link the seaport to the hinterland because when these cargoes come they must go.
“The more you are able to move man and cargo or goods and services to the hinterland, the more you create jobs. And the more you create jobs, the more economic growth that you have and that is my drive,” he said.