The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line would be put on hold due to the upsurge of Covid-19 in the country.
The media assistant to the minister, Mrs. Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, in a press release made available to journalists today 11 January, 2020 said, Amaechi disclosed this at a Television Interview in Abuja.
The minister further stated that, over 60 staff on project site have been infected by COVID-19 while trying to complete the project.
“First let us admit that over 60 of our staff, not ministry of transport staff, but the staff working on the rail project have been infected by COVID-19, luckily nobody has died and I pray nobody will die, but you see the kind of sacrifice everybody is making to get the rail to function.
“They are people sacrificing their lives to get to that point, we are of the view when we made that decision that Nigeria will not say 2020 was a bad year, so remove one year and add another year to Buhari’s administration.
“As far as we are concern, we need to learn how to leave with COVID-19, I really want to congratulate those that achieve that feat, we were to inaugurate first week in January. We had to stop those doing minor completion because of the rise in the pandemic transmission.
“The timeline for the inauguration will depend on COVID, if COVID stops today or reduces we will commission the project.”
Amaechi, further stated that the train services on all routes might stop if passengers do not adhere to COVID-19 protocol.
“We will allow the train to run but if we see that we are conveying passengers who have COVID-19 from Lagos to Ibadan, we will stop it, just like we are threatening to stop Kaduna-Abuja if people don’t comply with the COVID Protocol.”
He said that Abuja-Kaduna route convey about 4,000 passengers daily, stating that if anyone transmit COVID-19 onboard it will be a serious challenge.