Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, has said that additional funds are not needed to complete the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line.
Nigerians had expressed outrage after Amaechi during his ministry’s budget defence said he requested an additional $650m for additional works on the Lagos-Ibadan and the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge.
Backtracking on his initial position, he said there was no need for extra money as the $650m had already been previously approved.
He said, “I was merely reporting to the senators that the entire Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge was at the cost of $1.6bn and that we have had to request for another $650m for additional works at both the Lagos-Ibadan and the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge.
“The approval had since been obtained and the funds released long ago and we have since used it for the same purpose. We do not need any extra funds to complete this project and we are saying to Nigerians that we do not need any fresh money to complete the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge.
“What the CCECC has always been using as an excuse was the COVID-19 but this excuse could not be tenable because they have been back at work now in the last four months and no one has been sick on site. So we are urging them to increase the tempo of work as the government is determined to hand this over to Nigerians in January.
“I have asked that the malfunctioning equipment be pulled out and the CCECC and the NRC engineers are looking at whether it is something that could be repaired or replaced. The only challenge is that until that is done, we may have to scale down our services on that line.”