…as communities lauds Minister’s passion
By Albert Akoka, Abuja and Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi is optimistic that the proposal for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano standard gauge railway estimated to cost $8billion which has been submitted to the Federal Executive Council will receive speedy approval.
He said the rail networks are pivotal for transportation of goods and cargoes from the Lagos seaport into the country’s hinterlands, affirming that the prompt completion of the projects in different parts of Nigeria remains the cardinal objective of the Mohammadu Buhari administration.
The Minister, who spoke while on an on the spot assessment of work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project being constructed by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) told journalists that President Buhari desire to commission the Lagos-Ibadan portion of the project before his inauguration for a second term on May 29th.
Mr. Ameachi explained that the federal government is aware of the importance the rail will add to the economy of the states it will pass through hence he assured Nigerians that they will soon smile because his is not resting on oars in order to ensure the works are completed on schedule.
The Minister also took time to commend the phase of work on the corridor affirming that the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) has done well so far “If nothing else, if we are to be fair to these people, we should commend them for the pace of and quality of work. They have passed Abeokuta and gotten to kilometre 82 of track laying and they said by the time we get back on March 28, they will get to kilometre 95 and a week after our inspection, they will get to 120 and after that, only 36 kilometres will be remaining.”
He said “ just imagine the boost in economic activities of Osun, Ekiti, Kwara, Ondo, Niger, Kaduna that the double gauge will pass through before getting to Kano. It can only be imagine.”
Meanwhile, residents of communities on the Lagos-Ibadan corridor have described the passion of the President and Ameachi toward the development of the railway in Nigeria as one that should permeate through all the President Ministers and other office holders.
Majority of those who spoke to our correspondent over the weekend while on a tour of the communities said the frequent visit of the Minister is a testament to the importance attached to the project by President Buhari and Ameachi.
A resident in Agbado area in Ogun state axis, Mr. Joseph Adewale described the regular inspection of the project as an example of what a government Minister should do.
Adewale said “ if the seriousness we see the transport Minister attaches to this project is seen in others in their various ministry, this country will have gone far in terms of development. I commend him and the president and l have no doubt this will not be an abandoned project”.
A community leader in Papalanto area in Ogun state, Mr. Yomi Olumuyiwa said the people are overjoyed with what they see on a daily basis, he disclosed that businesses along and around the rail line has increased exponentially since the commencement of the double lane project.
Mr. Olumuyiwa said “let me divulge a secret to you, our kith and kin abroad are buying up lands and houses along the rail line in order to build houses for accommodation, the projection is that a lot of people will definitely leave Lagos and come to settle here. You can then imagine the impact of such migration to the economy of the community.”
Also in Olodo, an elderly man in his late 70s, Pa Adekunle Mayowa described the passage of the rail track through the community as a blessing to his property has he built in the 80s.
“I built this property (pointing to his house) in the 80s, l just felt that one day the community will develop and l can rent it out to earn a living. I thank the President and the Minister for bringing this dream to reality.”
Our reporter who visited other communities where train stations will be constructed like Omi-Adio, Kajola and Agbado observed residents discussing the importance of the project and the massive development it will draw to their areas.