The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has stated that work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project was in progress with commercial activities hopefully to begin from Agege to Ibadan by October.
The corporation stated that it was committed to completing the $8.3 billion contract for the construction of a standard gauge Lagos-Kano, awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) by the Nigerian Government.
The Managing Director, NRC, Engr. Freeborn Okhiria, who disclosed this to journalists during a recent inspection tour of the project to ascertain its progress recently, said works were at different completion stages as expected.
"On the tracks, I think we are coming to the end of it; we have just gotten to the station. What is remaining is lines going to the dry port, and the second line is just about 6 kilometres away.
"What they need to do now is to balance and ensure continuous rebalancing and lifting to ensure that the track is strong enough.
"We have seen the various stages of where there are on the station, and by December, it would have been completed, but maybe to Apapa, where we still have some issues because the track has to be laid out before you talk about the station," the corporation boss said.
He disclosed that there are 63 coaches of different standards; with over 200 wagons for the project with VIP coaches having only 24 seats, adding that these seats are the luxury ones.
"We also have a conference coach which will encourage people to hold conferences on rail," he added.
Okhiria also added: "We have two sets of Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) and they are made up of 10 coaches. We are expecting 30 locomotives and they will all come in before the end of the year."
Commenting on the allegation that the Lagos-Ibadan railway contract was inflated, the NRC boss said the contract couldn't have been inflated because those who signed the contract were not those implementing it, saying, "so how could that have happened?"
In his remark on the progress made on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, the NRC Board Chairman, Ibrahim Al- Hassan, who said the trip was to ascertain the assurance that things were actually going well as being reported in the media, added that commercial activities would hopefully commence from Agege to Ibadan by October this year.
Al-hassan, who led other board members on the inspection tour, said: "It is a very good opportunity for them (board members) to see first-hand experience on what is going on in the rail project so that when we talk about other segments, they will be able to understand what it is all about."