Amaechi urges CCECC to deploy more expertise, equipment to speed up completion of rail project

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi (right) with members of staff of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) during the<br />inspection of Lagos-Ibadan Standard Rail Guage in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: NAN

The Minister Of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has charged the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to deploy more equipment and manpower to commensurate the volume of work for speedy and timely completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project.

Amaechi, while inspecting the project with the Chairman CCECC, Mr. Zhao Dianlong, yesterday, said deploying more equipment and manpower would not attract extra money, as they are inbuilt in the contract sum.

“If you look at the work going on, you will agree with me that if they maintain the manner of work we saw today, we should be able to commence activities on the track very soon. As far as I am concerned, mentally, I am almost out of Lagos and want to focus on Kano, Kaduna, Ibadan to Ilorin.

“The original time for the contract in May. They made an argument you cannot fault, that they were given additional work of six months. And if you add an additional six months to that time, you are talking about next year. So, instead of looking at law, look more on practicality and compel them to speed up.

“By the time we met yesterday, I realised it is not important I talked about the law, but what of the additional work in stations, tracks, underpasses, flyovers and literally everything affected the time of completion.

“Somebody advised me not to talk about the completion date anymore and just continue working. I won’t tell you my conversation with the CCECC chairman, but let’s wait till February 20 when we will be coming back to inspect.”

Speaking on some other factors that have delayed the project, the minister said the Chinese contractor did not continue with the various equipment and manpower they used at the start of the project, noting that government would be compelling them to match the speed of work with the right equipment and manpower at various sites.

He said at the moment, it is not necessary to pursue law, but the completion of the project, noting that with Apapa seaport congestion primarily depending on the rail project, it was purely logistics that have made the congestion to linger over the time.

Dianlong cited the high cost of compensation in the country as obstacles hindering the project completion.

Other stakeholders present include Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria and Chairman, Board of Directors, NRC, Mallam Ibrahim Al-Hassan-Musa.

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