Amaechi directs audit of NRC property in Apapa as rail project to seaport continues



The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, cross-checking a design of some NRC  property at Apapa Rail Station


The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to take inventory of properties belonging to the Corporation in Apapa, to ascertain the value, and status of leased property.

“We are saying they shouldn’t just do valuation, but they should identify ownership of the property. If they have leased them out and it was legal, we have no choice but to pay.
“If the lease has expired, the owner has no choice than to hand over our property to us. But, we will have to do an audit first. That is what we want to do,” Amaechi said.
The minister made this known on Saturday while on inspection of the rail project from Ebute-Metta to Apapa(Lagos), to establish if there were any obstruction along the right of way of the rail line.
Speaking at the railway station in Apapa, the minister said that a number of the buildings belonging to the NRC would be pulled down though they are not along the rail line.
He explained that: “We need to have very wide space so that people can see that this is a station, than to have buildings clustering the front of the station.”
The minister also explained that the NRC had yet commenced carriage of cargo from the port because it would only be done with the construction of the standard gauge tracks.
Amaechi was hopeful that the civil works would get to Ibadan at the end of this May, then, they would come back to Iju, to Ebute-Metta and then Apapa.
The construction of a new bridge at Costain is in progress, while the old bridge still serves the public. And the minister explained that the same strategy would apply to the bridge marked for removal and reconstruction at Jibowu area of Lagos.
According to the minister, the strategy would enable residents go about their economic activities without undue pressure that could come with demolishing the bridges first, then reconstruction of new ones.  
“We are following that strategy because Lagos is a heavy economy, in that, if you demolish before reconstruction, there will be crisis with the traffic,” Amaechi noted.
On his assessment of the level of work done, the minister said “ From Ebute-Metta to Ibadan, we can say we are close to 70%. If we are at kilometre 123 in terms of tracks, the only thing left would be stations, communication and signalling.
“Signalling can only be installed when they complete the stations. Then, because of Costain, the work from Ebute-Metta to Apapa Port is just like 10-20 %. We also had to change the designs of the stations to look more modern.”
He was also optimistic that the smaller train stations should be finished in two months’ time, and added that Ibadan, Abeokuta, Apapa and Ebute-Metta train stations should be completed in December.
On his part, the Managing Director of NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, assured that the Apapa station would be completed within seven months.

He said that those using the corporation’s property at the Apapa station only got temporary licences, and that the occupants would have to let go of the property when the audit as directed by the minister was done.

Speaking on the job so far done, Mr. Loutfi Saad, Project Supervisor for Team Construction Company, commended the minister for the drive on the job.

He said: “I believe that the main person for the cause of the achievement was the minister. From the first day, he pushed us to the limits. We were all like ‘finished’ at the end of the day.

“We just kept following as he pushed; remove this, do it again. And we had a very tight schedule. But it gave the best of what was achieved.”

Amaechi is hopeful that come May 28, he and his team would be able to be on the train ride to Ibadan, implying that the project contractors, the China Civil Engineering Construction Company(CCECC), would have completed the rail tracks to Ibadan.
Onepageafrica reports that the Chairman of the NRC, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan, the Director of Rail at the NRC, Babakobi and other senior officers of the NRC were on the inspection tour of the project from Ebute-Metta to Papalanto on Saturday.