The Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has said that construction work on the Kano-Maradi railway corridor will commence by February. 2021
He disclosed that the contractors have commenced the Front-end engineering process to ascertain the technical requirements, main cost of the execution phase and evaluate the potential risk of the projects which would be ready by January ending.
Speaking during inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan railway over the weekend Amaechi said he has given the contractors marching order to begin to acquire the right of way, pay compensation and clearing right of way as the government would wait till end of January to commence work.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had recently approved contract of about $1.96 billion for the development of the proposed Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic.
Amaechi said “Kano-Maradi is at the stage of negotiation, we are fast tracking it. They (China Civil Engineering Construction Company) are doing front end engineering even before the loan, we believe that the front end engineering would have ended before the end of January, so we have between October – January window.”
” But we have told them we can’t wait till the end of January for them to start. They should start now to acquire right of way, pay compensation and start clearing the right of way so that they can prepare ‘, he stated.
This is just as the Lagos-Ibadan railway construction is nearly completion as the Minister said all things being equal the contractors are working to beat the January deadline for the completion of the railway tracks and the station buildings.
According to the minister, the contractors have assured that the small station buildings would be completed by October ending while the larger stations would be completed by November. The Ebutte Metta and Apapa station is expected to be completed by December.
In his response, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Cooperation (NRC) Fidelis Okhiria has assured that commercial activities will kick start on the route by November to reduce stress of commuters on the Lagos-Ibadan express road.
He said the cooperation would no longer be operating free train ride on the route as intending passengers would have to be paying an undisclosed amount for the service.
On the safety of railway communities, Amaechi said “The first thing for us is to complete our over passes and under passes so that when any accident happens, we will say Lagos state government is liable because, we have completed our own. If we don’t complete our own and anything happens, we will also be as liable as the Lagos state government.
However, the Chairman, Board of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, said in the course of the project, the management of NRC sat with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and agreed on areas where overhead crossing and bridges would be constructed.
“We agreed that some bridges and overhead crossing will be constructed by the Federal Government while others will be done by state governments.
“For instance, we constructed new two line bridges at Costain and brought down the old ones to enable us have access.
“As we are coming, you can see that passengers’ movement are under the track, while in some places we could see overhead bridges from Lagos to Ibadan in consideration of human and goods trafficking along the corridors,” he said.
Musa said that although people were still asking for more access to the corridor,their request would, however, would be considered based on merit and the finances available on ground.