The Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail tracks will be ready in February, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Managing Director Fidet Okhiria said yesterday. Okhiria, who spoke at Ijoko in Ogun State during the routine inspection of the $1.7 billion project, said by February 7, the corporation will begin a test-run of the tracks.
The managing director said the first phase of the project, which is meant to link Lagos with Abeokuta, is on course and will be achieved within the next 10 days. According to him, the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), has completed the laying of tracks from Kajola (Kilometre 41, and Abeokuta, Kilometre 79), while efforts to get the project to Iju in Lagos will be achieved by February 7.
He said: “The contractors have said their equipment could lay 1.5 kilometres per day. That means they could achieve the 10-kilometre distance between Kajola and Iju within seven days, and we can start the test-run of the tracks, latest by February 7.” Okhiria expressed satisfaction with the speed of the contractors, adding that with the civil works between Kajola and Iju completed, work would go on unhindered on the laying of tracks.
The NRC chief said the Federal Government had fully paid the compensations on all the property acquired for the project, adding that this facilitated the speedy pace of the project. He said the transparency in the payment of the compensation engendered the prevailing peaceful atmosphere surrounding the execution of the project.
The managing director said none of the contractors’ workers had been molested since the project started in 2017. Okhiria, who was accompanied by reporters and other members of the monitoring committee, rode on two first-class coaches on the completed section of the rail line between Kajola and Abeokuta. The NRC chief noted that when completed, the train would make travelling easy and fast – one hour – for passengers plying the route between Lagos and Abeokuta, or vice versa.
“With the speed of the train calibrated at 150 kilometres per hour, the speed train can make the 156 kilometres between Abeokuta and Lagos in one hour. This would help to redistribute congestion in our urban centres as more people would be able to live in one state and work in another,” he said.