As against the initial plan to demolish over 1,400 buildings to complete the ongoing standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail line, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that the rail line will be completed without any form of demolition.
Recall that the buildings have been marked already in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line Will Be Constructed Without Disturbing People, Amaechi
Amaechi made this known while he was speaking with newsmen in Oyo State.
The transportation minister also revealed that this particular step will save the Federal Government N2.8bn intended to be used as compensation for the owners of the buildings.
According to him, “What we have suggested today is that they should review the location of the train station in Abeokuta to avoid an area where we have too many buildings.”
“If you observe, when we visited the area where we have so many buildings on the proposed station site of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project in Abeokuta, towards the left of that area is a huge expanse of land that has fewer or no structures on it.”
“We have told the contractor to look at the possible option of going towards the left, instead of going through the MKO Abiola Complex (in Abeokuta) and running through buildings behind it. It doesn’t involve any new engineering structure. All they need do is move towards the left of the MKO Abiola Complex so that the path of the standard gauge project will avoid an area where we have too many houses.”
“If we agree to go towards the left of the MKO Abiola Complex, then we won’t be paying N2.8bn as compensation to property owners because we would have avoided where we have a concentration of too many houses and that would have reduced the project cost eventually. And by that, we will allow the people to live in peace.”
Amaechi also disclosed that he encountered several issues in Lagos and he is currently working under pressure to complete the project by December.
In his words, “In Lagos, we have set up a committee to be chaired by the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, with (representatives of) the CCECC, the Nigerian Army and the Lagos State Government as members. This is because the Lagos State challenges are huge. We have oil pipelines and water pipelines, some belonging to the NNPC, some belonging to private investors and some belonging to the Lagos State Government.”
“The committee members are to look at possible solutions to the problems, having at the back of their minds the deadline target of December 2019.”
“Two Lagos bridges and a flyover at Ijoko, Ogun State, also marked for demolition among others right of way issues, caused the initial suspension of the project last year.”