THE Federal Government may have dumped plans to demolish about 1,400 buildings in Abeokuta for the $1.5bn Lagos-Ibadan rail project due to what it described as huge compensation cost.
Speaking to newsmen on Monday in Ibadan after meeting with officials of the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said the compensation cost to owners of properties in Abeokuta, which runs into N2.8bn, will overshoot the budget for the project.
According to the Minister of Transportation, “what we have suggested today is that they should review the location of the train station in Abeokuta to avoid the area where we have too many buildings.
“If you observe, when we visited the area where we have so many buildings on the proposed station site of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project in Abeokuta, to the left of that area is a huge expanse of land that has fewer or no structures on it.”
” So we have told the contractor to look at the possible option of going towards the left instead of going through the MKO Abiola complex and running through buildings behind it.
“It doesn’t involve any new engineering structure. All they need do is move towards the left of the MKO Abiola complex so that the path of the standard gauge project will avoid the area where we have too many houses.
“If we agree to go towards the left of the MKO Abiola complex, then we won’t be paying N2.8bn as compensation to property owners because we would have avoided were we have a concentration of too many houses, and that would have reduced the project cost eventually. And by that, we will allow the people to live in peace.
“It is not yet a directive. It is an option I asked the contractor to study.
“In Lagos, we have set up a committee to be chaired by the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) with CCECC, the Nigerian Army, and the Lagos State Government as members. This is because the Lagos State challenges are huge.”
“We have oil pipelines, water pipelines, some belonging to NNPC, some belonging to private investors and some belonging to the Lagos State Government.”
“The Committee is to look at possible solutions to this problems, having at the back of their minds the deadline target of December 2018.”
It would be recalled that during its last inspection exercise in January 2018, about 1,400 buildings located beside Harmony estate, not too far from Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta were directly on the path of the proposed station site for the $1.5bn Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge project.