Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, on Tuesday in Ibadan, said the ongoing Standard Gauge Railway from Abeokuta to Ibadan was 70 to 80 per cent completed.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister had alongside Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and many others, drove round the project to the end in Ibadan axis.
He said: “Let me tell you that this project is 70 to 80 percent completed. We are in Ibadan already with the track and hopefully before the end of the year, commercial activities should start on the track.
“We are trying to go to Ibadan through the route. We have travelled 136km and what is remaining is about 22km, so we are almost through to the end.
“Actually it is 156km and we have exactly 2km to Ibadan Inland Dry Port, so it is 158km. If we have done 136km, then what is remaining is just 22km.”
The minister said the expectation was that work should be at its last lap by the end of May or second week of June if the contractors work on four kilometres per day.
Amaechi said that the contract was just two years and they had gone this far, saying that it was a pointer to the fact that the present government was committed to the completion of the project.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is focusing more on infrastructure. I listened to the radio on Monday and Nigeria is rated among the first 10 countries in Africa growing in infrastructure.
“We believe that if the president continues what he is doing and such is consolidated by another government, then we can be up there.”
The minister thanked all the communities on the Lagos-Ibadan railway track, saying that they never experienced any form of confrontation from them since the project started.
He said: “I wish to thank all the communities on the railway track from Lagos. They have been very cooperative. Even when schools were demolished on the route, they gave us time to rebuild them.”
Ajimobi told newsmen that he was happy with the speed at which the contractors were working on the project, saying the completion of the project would astronomically lift socio-economic development.
He commended the Buhari-led government for investing on infrastructure like his administration did in Oyo, saying such effort would soon bring about the much desired society.
Among those in the entourage were members of the State Executive Council, officials of Federal Ministry of Transportation as well as Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
NAN reports that work is ongoing on the project as railway tracks have been laid on some sections of the Ibadan axis, while construction work is ongoing on others.