Published On: Tue, Jul 24th, 2018

Minister Calls For Expansion of Apapa Road To Accommodate Warehouses.

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Aminat Isah
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has called for the expansion of Apapa road to accomodate warehouses.
Amaechi made the call at the monthly regular inspection and monitoring of the ongoing construction works at Lagos -Ibadan railway on Monday while inspecting the Apapa station axis of after the steering implementation committee meeting for the completion of the Lagos- Ibadan railway.
He said that the station at Apapa is not up to the standard required, hence necessitating a bigger station.
According to him, “We have decided is that, since we own all the properties all to the road,  the best thing to do is to terminate the lease,  deposes the land and demolish and expand the station. That way,  we can have ware houses, we can also have a better and bigger station that will accommodate more.”
On when commercial activities will commence on the Lagos-Ibadan railway, Amaechi said commercial activities would at least commence on the Ebute-meta-Ibadan Rail Corridor with the pace of construction activities ongoing.
Amaechi, however, said some challenges such as the relocation of oil and gas pipelines, located along rail corridor is slowing down the pace of activities.
“Basically, there is huge progress, quality of work with CCECC is to reduce the track lane and quality of civil works. We have problems with Lagos which is why we are not carrying out any massive or major inspection in Lagos.
“The main problem is Apapa, not because there is work going on in Apapa, but because we are going to see the location of the new station in Apapa today. The problem we have in Lagos today. Again we have not finished the technical works of gas pipelines, so it is slowing down our activities in Lagos,” he said
The minister further said Nigerians must be allowed to understudy properly the details of the construction work and running of the entire rail line, to take over activities from the Chinese in the near future.
Amaechi said work on the Iju to Ibadan section of the Lagos Ibadan rail line is progressing rapidly.
Amaechi pointed out the need to break Nigerian Railway Corporation into three sections,  to control asset maintenance, marketing  and operations.
“We are looking at the possibilities of breaking Nigerian Railway Corporation into three and I discussed it with the managing Director. One that owns the asset,  the tracks and is incharge of maintenance of the tracks and all Railway assets,  and then one that operates.
“So you have the Nigerian Railway Corporation that does the running of passengers,  trains and all and then you have the marketing . I cannot confirm that but I have put a team on ground to do a study and get back to me but I think that we need to unlock what we currently have because they seem to be over unbundled,” he stated.
He further said there has been huge progress in quality of work with CCECC, adding that work on the Iju to Ibadan section of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line is progressing rapidly.
“The main problem is Apapa, not because there is work going on in Apapa, but because we are going to see the location of the new station in Apapa today. The contract is opening to two phases, the first phase is Ebutte-meta to Ibadan,  we believe that they should be able to complete that.
“we also believe that they should be able to complete Apapa to the Seaport but even if they don’t complete that, they can go ahead and begin commercial activities from Ebutte-Meta to Ibadan which is the original contract actually.
It was this government that said that all railways must terminate at seaports, so that one if they finish it on time,  we will go with it.
On the employment of qualified Nigerian engineers to understudy CCECC,  he noted that if Nigerians don’t capture this technology the country would not progress.
“What is essential for Nigerians, is to understudy the technology and engineering aspect so that we can maintain ours.  We are going to import coaches from Indonesia,  why shouldn’t we in the next two years build our own coaches and locomotives?”
Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, (NRC), Engr. Freebon Okhiria, on his path noted that expansion of  the station as earlier stated by the minister will not affect the tracks, and adds that the platforms will remain where it is.
“The station will be extended. I am expecting a bigger station where you put your goods.  That’s what he is saying. I think Nigerians should be happy,  I am happy not only because it is happening in my time,  but because my children will have a proper rail to ride on” he added.

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