The Federal Government has said the Ibadan-Kano rail line will be ready by 2023.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
The minister expressed optimism that the project would be ready before the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), leaves office in 2023.
When asked what could be the reason for the delay in completing the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, he said it was not the fault of the contractors but the urban nature of Lagos.
He said, “We have pipes. For instance, for the road to the seaport, we had to bring a company from Italy to identify the pipes and know those who owned them because the companies did not know their pipes.
“The next thing is, if we try to dig out the pipes, the power supply will stop in Lagos and there will be no fuel literally for the entire country apart from those from Port Harcourt.
“So, we brought another company that was not part of the contract. We brought another company that came to find the solution to how to build on those pipes without causing damage because one of the problems with those pipes is that once it is not properly done, the whole of Lagos will be gone.
“We have to put enough engineering to protect those pipe and oil that they carry so that we don’t have an explosion.”
The minister also said the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, had directed a Russian firm to partner with Nigeria to construct the Lagos-Calabar rail line.
He said the government was waiting for feedback from a Russian firm for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar rail line.
The government of Russia and Nigeria had reached an agreement for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar rail line during Buhari’s visit to Russia in October last year.
The minister also expressed optimism that the bill of quantity that the Russian firm would present would be cheaper than what the Chinese had proposed.