The Federal Government on Monday directed the contractor handling the new Lagos – Ibadan railway project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, to extend its work from Ebute Meta to Apapa as part of measures to facilitate the movement of goods from the Lagos seaports to other parts of the country by rail .
Although the extension is in the second phase of the standard gauge railway project, the government said the decision to bring it forward was informed by the need to address the near stagnation of import and export business due to the gridlock on roads leading to Apapa and the Lagos seaports .
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi , who gave the directive in Lagos , also ordered the demolition of the Apapa Railway Station to pave the way for its expansion as well as accommodate the activities at the Apapa seaport .
He spoke with journalists during the inspection of the Apapa station after a meeting of the Project Steering Committee held at the CCECC yard.
“ We have come to inspect what the Apapa station looks like . The station will be moved backward to the centre of the road since all the property around here belongs to the NRC , ” Amaechi said.
The minister, who insisted that the December deadline for the completion of the railway project was feasible , however , declared that it was not mandatory for the contractor to deliver the Apapa Port extension , classified as the phase two.
He stated, “ The task we have given the contractor now is broken into two phases; the first phase is from Ebute Meta to Ibadan . We believe 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 are not able to complete it , we can go ahead and begin commercial activities from Ebute Meta to Ibadan , which is the original contract . It is this government that said all rail lines must terminate at seaports. ”