The ongoing construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project will not be abandoned, both the Federal Government and the National Assembly declared on Friday.
According to them, the project will be given all the attention required until it is completed.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Senate Committee Chairman on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, gave the assurance after inspecting the work being done on the rail project.
On what the government was doing to avoid anything that might warrant abandoning the project, Amaechi replied, “Why should you bother about that when you know that the funding comes from China Exim Bank and we (Nigeria) have finished paying our own money? So why will it be abandoned?
“First of all, we won the elections and I thought you should see it from that angle. Having won the elections, it means that the same government will work hard to finish the project. Even if you change the minister, the project will continue.”
Ashafa had earlier assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would do its best to ensure that the railway project continued till it was completed.
He said a lot of progress had been made on the project when compared to what his team saw on the site when they visited in February last year.
According to Ashafa, close to 10,000 Nigerians work on the railway project, adding that employment had risen and the indirect benefits of the construction work on commerce and trade were endless.
“So this is a project that cannot fail. It is a project that cannot be abandoned. Thank God President Muhammadu Buhari has been reelected for the second term, so that will give the project the desired continuity,” Ashafa stated.
He also noted that about N80bn had been proposed as counterpart funding for capital projects in the 2019 budget of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
“A component of that capital budget that will affect this project is the counterpart funding and about N80bn has been earmarked for that as was proposed. If we can get more money to add to it, well and good,” Ashafa said.
This came as Amaechi announced that there would be a presidential ride on the railway project by the end of May this year.
“The presidential ride will take place by the end of May. But it is beyond just having a ride because they (contractors) said that by the end of May, they should have finished laying the tracks,” he said.