FG to inaugurate Warri-Itakpe rail line, names station after former president
By Lucy Ogalue
Abuja – The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line was set and ready for inauguration.
Amaechi, while inspecting the Warri-Itakpe rail line on Saturday, also expressed satisfaction at the quality of work at the various stations.
According to him, the 10 stations are completed and President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that the main station which is the Agbor station be named after former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“It is the duty of the Ministry to convince the Presidency that we are ready for Commissioning, I won’t Commission. It is the president that will Commission but we are thinking about virtual commissioning.
“When you see a good job, don’t ask questions. The camera will show that this is a good job, this is the Goodluck Jonathan station, which is the Agbor Station which incorporates the railway facilities.
“It was named after Goodluck Jonathan and the President approved it. Agbor station and the yard was named after president Jonathan.
“Both Julius Berger, CCECC and Team have all done a good job. We will know if NRC has done a good job when they manage it properly because the issue is Maintenance.
`I don’t want to come here in the next four, five years and it looks worn out.
“ If you break anything, replace it or repair it. I think we should learn to maintain the infrastructure that we inherit,” Amaechi said.
On resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train service, he said that there was a need to maintain social distancing and ensure that COVID-19 was not transmitted among passengers.
He explained that up to 4,000 passenger ply the Abuja-Kaduna route daily, hence the need to take precautionary measures.
Amaechi said: “In fact, this is more like a test run. I told them I want only 30 persons and I’m sure we are more than that, so imagine what happens when you have to deal with passengers.
“This test run will make us go back to the drawing board and the first thing we will put in place when we get approval is that the cost of Transportation from Abuja to Kaduna will double.
” This is because each coach takes 88 passengers but we will reduce it to 40 and the price will increase but we will need to talk to the President before we move on.”
On compliance, he said everybody must obey the COVID-19 rules of three metres distance, adding that it was the reason why the number of passengers would be reduced from 88 per coach to 40.
“Every body must come with his own hand sanitizer, government won’t buy for you and it has to have minimum of 90 per cent alcohol. Next thing is that you must come with your face mask without which you won’t enter,” he said.
On timelines, the minister said that with the current situation of COVID-19, the projects cannot be completed until the pandemic gets better and workers could commence work on site.
“It is difficult to deal with time lines now, we were determined to complete Lagos-Ibadan by May, I don’t know when we will start Lagos- Kano but when we start, we will be requiring more than 10,000 workers, Kaduna-Kano 10,000 workers, Ilorin-Ibadan 10,000 workers.
“How can we do that when we are trying to maintain social distancing. If you can’t get that number and you get 1000 workers you will be reduced by 90 per cent, then we are in trouble.
“But I want to take the position of the President that the fact that there is COVID-19 does not mean we can’t work, in fact that’s one reason you see me here today. (NAN)