Senate wants speedy work on Lagos-Ibadan Railway project

David Adekunle,Lagos

On-going construction of the Lagos - Ibadan railway modernisation project

The Nigerian Senate has called for speedy work on the Lagos – Ibadan railway modernisation project to meet up with 2018 delivery date.

Chairmen, Senate Committees on Local and foreign debts, Shehu Sani and that of land transport, Gbenga Ashafa made the calls during the assessment and evaluation of the project in Lagos.

Senator Shehu Sani attributed that both committees signal the seriousness attached to the commencement and successful completion of its rail project by this 8th senate.

He said the potential of the rail project was to fast track the nation’s economic growth, provision of gainful employment to the teeming youths and over all development of the country.

Implementation of the projects
According to him, the senate while approving the borrowing plan as it concerns the rail mandated its relevant committee to ensure a thorough oversight of the actual implement of the projects for which the country was borrowing.

“Obviously, this is guarantee effective and efficient utilisation of every kobo taken as loan by the Nigerian government on behalf of Nigerians. Therefore, this visit is one step in the fulfillment of that mandate and the public trust we owe Nigerians,” vSenator Shehu Sani explained.

Senator Shehu stated that if successive borrowings at the federal and State levels in the past had been duly scrutinised and monitored, perhaps Nigeria would have been fared  far better than it is at the moment.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa said the assessment visit  was to help the committee on land transport to assess the project implementation plan for the recently approved loan requested by the Nigerian government from the China Exim bank.

Ashafa stated that it was the responsibility of the Senate to ensure high level of accountability in public expenditure

Approved loan
He stated that  the bulk of this joint committee’s work lied particularly in the areas that concern the activities of the ministry of transport and all relevant stakeholders in the expenditure of the loan,as requested the sum of $5.851 billion.

According to him, this approved loan would be expended on the modernisation of Lagos to Kano, Kano to Kaduna,Lagos to Ibadan and Calabar to Lagos rail segments.

” It is our hope that the contractors of the project,(China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation) CCECC would keep to term and deliver this project for the benefit of all Nigerians in record time,” he said.

Senator Ashafa was confident that the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos  railway modernisation projects would in no small way further reinvigorate Nigerian economy through the creation of jobs.

The Chief project Coordinator of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation CCECC, Leo Yin eulogised the ministry of Finance for partnering with China Exim bank that gave birth to the construction of the rail gauge line that would benefit Nigerians upon completion.

Yin said that constant heavy rainfall and high underground water levels as challenges of the delay.

Senators Gbenga Ashafa and Shehu Sani during the project assessment and evaluation visit

He assured Nigerians of working tireless for the actualisation of the project deadline with assurance that CCECC would maintain and continue its standard in the area of best service delivery.

Talks for Procurement
He stated that the ministry of finance and China Exim bank are in talks for procurement of the train as their job now was to construct railway lines.

The project which is expected to cost N458 billion and spans 156.65 kilometres was kicked off by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on, March 7, 2017 and would be completed in December 2018.

The agreement between Nigeria and the CCECC for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan and Calabar-Port Harcourt rail lines was signed by the transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi last year.

Confidence Okwuchi