Abuja — The federal government's plan to meet the December deadline for the completion of the Ibadan-Lagos standard gauge railway project may be frustrated by the hurdles of relocation of crude oil pipelines, water pipes, and electricity equipment along the tracks at the Apapa seaports.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, gave the hint yesterday while briefing the journalists yesterday shortly after inspecting level of work of the ongoing project at Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
Though the laying of the tracks from the Agbado-Ibadan may have been completed, the contractors- China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) are still finding it difficult to relocate the pipelines obstructing the rail tracks.
Amaechi disclosed that the issues of water pipes, gas, and fuel pipelines were major challenge but, that of the bridges have been settled.
"From Iju to Apapa, there is the problem of urbanisation. This has to be dealt with," Amaechi said.
According to the minister, flour mills will not be a problem.
"We will talk with them; pay them compensation and demolish the portion we need.
"But there is a pipe they have which is very dangerous, it comes from Escravos and the moment you shut that pipe, there will be fuel scarcity.
"We can't afford fuel scarcity; so, we can't afford to shut it down. Of concern to the contractor is the relocation of the Flour Mill Factory constructed on the existing narrow gauge track."
Speaking further, he decried the slow pace of work by the contractor, CCECC, adding that the company has not done too well.
"I used the phrase too well because at a time, they did us proud by trying to push this job. They claim that at the end of the last government, we were owing them some money and we had not given approvals for the extra and additional jobs."
But that's not an excuse because we will still have given the approval."