By Albert Akota
The Federal Government has inspected 64 coaches under construction in China for the various rail projects in Nigeria with 10 coaches to be delivered in June for Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, led a delegation to China to inspect the level of work at the Chinese Railway Rolling-stock Corporation (CRRC) Tangshan Co., Ltd in China.
Mr Mohammed Idris, Director, Press of the Ministry of Transportation disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Amaechi said that Nigeria is expected to take delivery of the first batch of 10 coaches in June towards reducing the congestion at the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
According to him, “We need coaches by June latest. We need coaches that can carry men from one point to another and we need a minimum of 10 coaches now out of the 64.
“I requested for 10 coaches now because we need to improve on Kaduna-Abuja line. If the 10 doesn’t come there is nothing I can do but it has to come because they have to manufacture for us to use in Kaduna-Abuja.
“Lagos-Ibadan will soon be ready, we also have to ensure that we get coaches that we can be using, pending when they finish construction of the 64 coaches”.
Amaechi, however, noted that the pace of work was slow and urged the manufacturers to improve on it.
“The pace of construction is slow and they need to improve on it. In fact the contract has expired, we may not have paid all the money but we paid quite a substantial sum and therefore they should construct speedily.
“The contract was signed in December 2017 and was supposed to expire in February. It has expired and there is a breach of contract but we will look at what the law says because more than one third of the money has been paid.”
However, Mr Zhou Junnian, the General Manager, CRRC Tangshan Co.Ltd, expressed excitement over the visit of the Nigerian delegation.
He explained that the passenger coach components are 100 per cent from China, adding that materials for work depend on the speed of the product and the customer requirements.
He said that CRRC would work with the CCECC to meet the high standard
and quality needed to finish the projects in future.
The delegation visited the CRRC Shandong, to inspect the cargo wagons
being built for Nigeria.
The Nigerian delegation also included the Minister of Finance, Hajia
Zainab Ahmed, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport,
Olugbenga Ashafa, and Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation,
Mr Fidet Okhiria.