Published On: Tue, May 14th, 2019

Apapa standard gauge’ll increase business, create employment in Nigeria – FG

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Suleiman Idris & Albert Akoka

The Federal government has said works on the Apapa-Ebute Metta-Iju Standard gauge railway project when completed will facilitate the transportation of the chunk of the cargoes at the Apapa port in Lagos into the hinterland of Nigeria by rail.
The government described as very low the current volume of freight transported by rail from the country’s busiest sea port, hence, the need to expedite the works on the construction of the modern rail facilities to the port.
To achieve this, Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has directed that all anticipated challenges should be address to enable the project been by undertaken by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to commence.
Speaking during an inspection tour of works on the Apapa-Ebute Metta-Iju railway project in Lagos, the Minister directed the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to ensure properties belonging to the corporation at the Lagos, Apapa Port Railway Station environment are recover from their current occupiers.
“Currently, we are moving between 200,000 and 300,000 tons of cargo in a year when we have about 30 million tons of cargo in a year. If we have such volumes of cargo, we have to ensure that the tracks function very well to ensure effective movement of these cargos.”
He specifically ordered that the corporation takes inventory of the buildings within the NRC territory in order to ascertain the status of the structure including those that are leased out, sold to individuals and organizations, the abandoned ones as well those whose leased has expired.
Mr. Ameachi told reporters that “These are properties belong to NRC and we have directed that they should not only do the evaluation but also identify ownership of the property.
Those legally leased out, we have no choice than to pay. Those whose leases have expired, the owners have no choice than to hand them over to us. We simply have to do an audit and ensure the recovery of those properties,”
During a stop over at Costain area of Lagos, where he was briefed by officials from the Lagos state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, the Minister expressed surprise at the delay by the Lagos state government to compensate owners of two buildings delaying the completion of a flyover after having had understanding with the state Governor, Mr. Akinwumin Ambode on the matter.
He said “What we want to do is to compel them to complete the civil works to Ibadan by the end of this month, then they will come back to Iju, from there to Ebuta Metta to Apapa. As for the building obstructing the construction of the flyover, we will formally write to the state government to hear from them why the compensation has not been paid and why the building has not been demolished.
Don’t forget that they promised to pay the compensation. As a former governor of a state, I know that it takes time for the system to bring out money. It takes time and processes. It is not Ambode’s government but Lagos State government that promised. Whatever decision taken previously is binding on the new government,” he added.

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