The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed that the Lagos-Ibadan Railway will be commissioned in June by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Though he was yet to ascertain the exact date of the official commissioning, he revealed that he has gotten presidential clearance for the much anticipated event.
The Minister spoke on Saturday at Ibadan during the inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.
He expressed overall satisfaction with the level of achievement of the contractors between his last inspection and now. He insisted that whatever is remaining can be fixed in days.
Amaechi while urging the contractors to expedite their efforts encouraged them to hire more Nigerians to get the job done within agreed time frame.
Reacting to the vandalisation of rail infrastructure by criminal elements, the Minister asked Nigeria Railway Corporation to go after and arrest buyers of vandalised rail track facilities and other equipment.
Amaechi said cases of vandalisation exists because there are those who have indicated interest in the vandalised facilities.
He also said the rate of vandalisation would reduce if the judiciary dispenses justice without delay, adding that State Governments need to create more jobs.
He said: “I don’t know why some Nigerians are like the way they are. I have told the Managing Director of NRC to arrest the buyers of the equipment. It is not enough to arrest the vandals.
“It is likened to those who said why should the National Assembly punish those who pay ransom, that law was first passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly when I was a speaker and the reason is, that, when there is no demand, there will be no supply.
“If we don’t pay ransom, they will be tired and they will stop. The same way, if they don’t buy those metals, slippers and others, nobody will steal them.”
He said: “Also, we must approach the Judiciary to have court that can dispense justice readily so that people are sent to jail early enough to deter others and we will also encourage our governors to create jobs.”
The Minister also hinted that some people who have been vandalising the facilities have been arrested.
He was also enthusiastic that cargoes will be moved from the Apapa port in Lagos to the Inland Dry Port in Ibadan using the railway. This will bring respite to Lagosians who have suffered traffic congestion caused by the port gridlock for many years.