Lagos-Ibadan rail to begin service December, says NRC MD

MANAGING DIRECTOR of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, has said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail track will be test-run in the first week of December ahead of its inauguration.

Okhiria explained that inauguration of the rail track was different from inauguration of train service.

He said train service from Lagos to Ibadan would be in full swing in December.

The NRC chief spoke on Monday in Lagos during the inspection of work on the project by Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi.

Also, Amaechi has debunked a report that the ministry needs another $650 million to complete the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge.

The report, which went viral on the social media last week, has pitched the ministry against Nigerians who expressed doubt about the government’s ability to deliver the project on schedule.

The minister debunked the report when he led the Director General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Abdulfatai Buhari as well as the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Board Chairman Al-Hassan Musa, among others, on an inspection of the project.

Amaechi said the report was a “complete misrepresentation” of what happened at the National Assembly when he went for the ministry’s budget defence.

He said: “I was merely reporting to the senators that the entire Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge was at the cost of $1.6 billion and that we have had to request for another $650 million for additional works at both the Lagos-Ibadan and the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge.

“The approval had since been obtained and the funds released long ago. We have since used it for the same purpose. We do not need any extra funds to complete this project. We are saying to Nigerians that we do not need any fresh money to complete the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge.”

Also, Amaechi on Monday expressed dissatisfaction at the slow pace of work on the 156-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway.

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