Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi apologized to the Nigerians for the breakdown of the Abuja-Kaduna railway locomotives that occurred between 18 and 20 November.
The minister made the request on Monday at the Moniya train station during the routine inspection of the ongoing railway project in Ibadan.
“I want to apologize to the Nigerians for what happened at the Abuja-Kaduna train station.
“Now we have new locomotives and we have called in the Chinese because we never expected mechanical failure at this early stage.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, the ministry and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), we apologize to the Nigerians and have instructed the NRC to fix it or invite the Chinese.
“If this is happening now, then they should bring our old locomotives back, it will only affect response times because we get the new locomotive to increase response time,” he said.
Amaechi called for an increase in the pace of work of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), adding that the Covid-19 pandemic was no longer an excuse.
The minister said that although the CCECC was doing well, they need to increase their pace to allow the ministry to deliver the project on time.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Ms Madeleine Ajani, said there was a significant improvement in the work in progress compared to what it was in October.
Ajani said the ministry will not change the commissioning date, but rather put more pressure on the CCECC to achieve its goals.
He explained the need for Lagos to have a standard gauge train because the population added that in less than an hour and a half the train would move from Lagos to Ibadan.
Ajani said that the establishment of the standard gauge railway would also decongest both road transport and cargo movement from ports, while people living in Ibadan could come and work in Lagos on a daily basis.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, said there was an improvement in construction output by contractors, adding that “hopefully by December some of the stations will be finished.”
“We also need to have more stations so that passengers don’t have to wait for the train to leave Ebute-Meta station before arriving at Agege station, which means that the two trains can be in one section.
“This can be done with the help of signal and communication, therefore the train should be able to communicate with the train and the station should be able to communicate with the station simultaneously.
“The delay in the construction of the railway along the Apapa port corridors is due to the Oando gas pipeline along the Apapa corridor,” Okhiria said.
It revealed that the train would start operating from Lagos to Moniya in Ibadan on December 7.
According to Okhiria, 24 coaches, four passenger locomotives, nine freight locomotives and shunting locomotives had arrived in Lagos, while two of the freight locomotives were to be transferred to Warri for a project.
Source: – Vanguard