The Federal Government has given a timeline for the completion of the Ibadan-Kano rail line. While answering questions during an interview session with journalists, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that the project is expected to be completed by 2023.
Amaechi pointed out that the project would be ready for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari before the end of his tenure in 2023.
Nairametrics had reported that the $5.3 billion standard gauge rail line project would be kicking off by the first quarter of 2020. This was after the approval had been gotten from the Federal Executive Council in September 2019.
The project is being undertaken by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and is part of the 2,700km Lagos-Kano rail standard gauge line, which is expected to offer transport connections from the port of Lagos to Kano, near the border with Niger.
He disclosed during the interview that the delay in commencement of the project was due to lack of funds just as they were waiting for the finance ministry to raise the needed funds.
In response to questions, Amaechi reiterated that the delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project was due to difficulty in identification of pipes and those who own them. Digging out the pipes would affect power supply and fuel distribution in Lagos and the entire country respectively. So they had to engage a company that could build on those pipes without causing damage.
He said, “We have pipes. For instance, for the road to the seaport, we had to bring a company from Italy to identify the pipes and know those who owned them because the companies did not know their pipes.
“The next thing is, if we try to dig out the pipes, the power supply will stop in Lagos and there will be no fuel literally for the entire country apart from those from Port Harcourt.
“So, we brought another company that came to find the solution to how to build on those pipes without causing damage because one of the problems with those pipes is that once it is not properly done, the whole of Lagos will be gone.
“We have to put enough engineering to protect those pipe and oil that they carry so that we don’t have an explosion.”
The various rail line projects in the country are part of infrastructural projects aimed at facilitating the movement of goods and people in addition to improvement on ease of doing business.