…As Lagos closes Jonathan Coker/Fagba axis for rail project
Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said two new locomotives and eight coaches will arrive Abuja in March for deployment to the Abuja-Kaduna light rail service and by so doing, ease passengers’ plight of delayed trips. Mr. Amaechi gave this hint during an interactive session with journalists, assuring that, “I think before the end of the month or first week in March they will arrive. Two locomotive (diesel motorcars) and eight coaches, next is 10 for Lagos. “The problem they’re having is transportation. They have to transport the ones that have arrived Lagos. I requested for approval to direct CCECC to transport them; which is the right thing. Because CCECC has the contract and the contract doesn’t end in Lagos. I hope they won’t argue about the transportation of those coaches to Abuja.” The current 13 coaches have been grossly inadequate with rising demand from passengers due to the insecurity issues on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway. The service now carries about 4,000 passengers daily, a double of the 2,000 it was carrying when the roads were relatively safe.
The eight additional coaches will move supply to 21 coaches on the corridor. This is anticipated to reduce the pressure by over 50 per cent and eliminate ticket racketeering which has become a norm on the service. At its 1,000th days in operations in 2019, the service had moved 1.5 million passengers. ADVERTISEMENT HOW OVER 5000 NIGERIA MEN HAVE PERMANENTLY OVERCOME TERRIBLE BEDROOM PERFORMANCE DUE TO THIS RECENT DISCOVERY BY MEDICAL CONSULTANTS It would be recalled that the service was flagged-off by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 26, 2016, thus marking 1,000 days in operation on April 3, 2019. The rail line, which is the first commercial standard gauge train service, was built by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) from about 75 per cent funding from China and 25 per cent from Nigeria. On the Ibadan-Kano rail project, the minister said lack of funds was still delaying the project while the Russian company that was supposed to handle the coastal rail project was yet to respond to government’s clarifications on it. He further explained that: “On Ibadan -Kano, we are waiting for the Ministry of Finance. We’ve done our beat. We awarded the contract so, till finance raises the money. So, until they come back and say see the cash, you and I will be waiting.” On the coastal rail project, he said the company “wrote demanding some details, which we have provided, but they haven’t come back again. “I have directed that further contact be made with them because another Russian company came to me saying they have the money to do same project, but we would prefer the company President Muhammad Buhari agreed with the Russian president.” The agreement pact was signed with the Chairman of the railway firm, Oleg Belozerov, and the CEO of Transmash, a private rolling stock manufacturing holding, Kirill Lipa, on the sidelines of the second plenary of the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi between the Nigerian and Russian governments.
Meanwhile the Lagos State Government will as from 8pm, Thursday, close down Jonathan Coker Street at Fagba area till 6am the next day to pave way for the installation of the rubber panels on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail project.
Alternative routes have been provided for road users to utilize during the course of the construction to ensure motorists reach their various destinations with ease.
Motorists plying Jonathan Coker axis will be diverted to the Ashade, Toyin and Adejobi Level Crossing to reduce the inconvenience of the ongoing construction and aid road users to get to their various destinations.
The closure has been slated at this time, to ensure there is smooth and uninterrupted flow of work on the rail tracks.
- Lagos State Government is hereby appealing to residents of the state, especially motorists that ply these corridors to bear the pains, as the project is aimed at achieving a seamless multi modal transport system that will meet the transportation need of a larger population.