Over 60 percent of the workforce on the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project are currently battling with COVID-19 infection.
The Minister of Transportation, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this, on Monday, when he appeared on a television programme.
Amaechi 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.
“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.
“We need to learn how to live 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 COVID-19 transmission.
“The timeline for the inauguration will depend on the pandemic, if COVID-19 stops today or reduces we will commission the project.”
Amaechi, further stated that the train services on all route 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 the virus from Lagos to Ibadan, we will stop it, just like we are threatening to stop Kaduna-Abuja if people don’t comply with the protocol,” he stated.
Recall that the Federal government had originally scheduled to officially launch the Lagos-Ibadan railway project this January. As a build-up to the planned take-off of the project, experimental operations were conducted with passengers on board last year.
The train is projected to cover about 156km journey between Ibadan and Lagos in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The Lagos-Ibadan line is said to be a double-track standard gauge rail.
Going by its planned mechanics, it would run from Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub through to Ibadan, capital of Oyo state. The $1.5bn project is reportedly being financed by China with Abuja providing counterpart funding.
A statement by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCEC), the project’s contractors said that passengers will be required to pay between N3,000 ($8) and N6,000 ($16) for tickets during their travels .