FEC Yet to Approve $3.5bn Ibadan-Kano Standard Guage—Amaechi
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has said that the construction of the Ibadan-Kano railway project will possibly kick-start in April 2020, according to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Speaking over the weekend at the monthly inspection of the ongoing construction of the Lagos-Ibadan railway, which is in its final stage of completion, the Minister said that the construction of the $3.5 billion Ibadan-Kano standard Guage to be constructed by the China Railway Cooperation Company (CRCC) was yet to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He, however, said that he was hopeful that the contract would be approved before the end of the first quarter of next year.
Mr Amaechi also expressed his displeasure with the pace of work of the Lagos to Ibadan and warned that the government would not tolerate such on the Ibadan-Kano rail project when it begins.
”The Chinese are fixated on completion of work by April, we are pushing them to work, starting from January 6, the excuse they are giving now is that most of their workers have gone on Christmas break.
“They have said they have a time line which is for the minor stations to be ready by February and major stations would be ready by April which means you can commission by April or you force them to speed up and that will be before February,” he said.
Speaking on the inspected projected, the minister said, ”The Lagos – Ibadan would be ready by next year but we will not allow this type of speed on Ibadan to Kano standard Guage rail because if we allow this kind of speed, by 2023, they will not have finished and after a few more months, another government will come in and say he did the work whereas, I have been suffering, running up and down to ensure we complete the work.’
“Although it does not matter who completes it, what matters is that Nigerians have means to convey their goods”, he added.
This would, however, not be the first problem the construction would face from the contractor. In November, the project which was initially scheduled to be completed by February 2020 by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) pleaded for an additional two months for the completion of station buildings and communication signals.