Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Thursday announced that the Lagos-Ibadan railway project which cost about$1.6bn will be completed by December or beginning of January 2021.
Rotimi Amaechi revealed this in a live television programme also with the Minister of works and Housing known as Babatunde Fashola, where it was said that he would work with the Lagos State government to move heavy trucks away from the roads.
In the course of the programme which took place in Abuja, Fashola, while responding to a question, insisted that Nigerian roads would not last without the construction and usage of functional rail lines.
“I am his biggest champion when he (Amaechi) is presenting his request in the cabinet for the rails because I know that without the rail the roads will not last,” Fashola said.
He added, “The tankers are plying excess cargo; they are moving 60,000 tonnes instead of 33,000, 40,000 or 45,000 tonnes maximum. So, the best way is to move all that cargo into the tracks.
“That is what happens in countries we want to be like and that is where we are heading. So, he (Amaechi) has my support.”
Responding, the transportation minister said what his counterpart in the works ministry stated were correct, adding that he would partner Fashola and Lagos State to move cargoes from roads to rail.
Amaechi said the transfer of cargoes to rail would start majorly with the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, adding that the line should be completed this December or early January next year.
“I intend to approach him (Fashola) in January and approach the Lagos State governor so that we can see how we can deal with Apapa. Why I said that is because by December to first or second week in January, we should have completed the Lagos-Ibadan.
“Then if we do, there will be a need to decide what vehicles can go to Lagos and the capacity of such vehicles or trucks.”
Amaechi added, “If we do that, we can then transfer all the cargoes that come from Apapa seaport to the railway. We believe we could transfer that up till Ibadan while we are still constructing the rail line from Ibadan to Kano.”
The minister stated that in two to three years, the Ibadan-Kano rail line would have received a lot of work, adding that more cargoes would move on the rail line.