May 29th rail launch not feasible – Amaechi

Hauwa Mustapha, Abuja

Nigerian Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi says the official launching of Abuja-Kaduna rail project will not be feasible on May 29.

Mr Amaechi stated this in Idu, Abuja, during the inspection of the arrival of the two new coaches by contractors, China Civil Engineering Company, CCECC.

He stated that the new development was due to the earlier refusal of Daughters of Charity, a Non-Governmental Hospital in Abuja to relocate for the alignment of the rail track.

According to the Minister, the negotiations had been completed with the hospital, he added that a new facility, including a convent, would be built for the sisters by the contractors on a new site.

Mr Amaechi said, there would be primary training for one 1,000 staff for maintenance of the rail line, adding that security and conveyance of passengers from the city Centre to Idu rail station would be resolved before the test-run.

“The Daughters of Charity Hospital refused the demolition of their place to allow for the alignment, negotiations have taken place and we have agreed that demolition would commence”.    

“We have been told by the engineers not to give time anymore for the official launching.”        

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Transportation Ministry, Mr Sabiu Zakari said so far agreement have been reached between the ministry of Transportation, CCECC and Daughters of Charity payment has also been made to them for demolition of the hospital.

On his part the Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation Mr Fidet Okhiria noted that the coaches have a life span of thirty-years.

Mr Okhiria said the routine maintenance of the coaches monthly, quarterly and annually would also be conveyed to the manufacturers after ten years for general overhaul of gauge line.

The economy coaches would convey 88 passengers at time with the five coaches expected, one would be for executive class and another was a parcel van coach designed for passengers with excess luggage.