FG To Evaluate Environmental Impact Of Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project On Host Communities

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The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi  has called for a systemic examination of unintended consequences of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project on host communities along the rail corridor.
Amaechi who made this known  while on a monthly inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan rail to ascertain the level of work on the corridor, charged the Engineers to do a study village by village of what impact the railline must have caused the communities vis-a vis the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) already done by the Ministry.
This charge followed letters of complaints that have inundated the office of the Minister from the host communities stating inherent challenges  the project poses to the their continued existence.
 “We are being unfair to them because they gave us all the cooperation we wanted, even chieftaincy titles. These communities have been nice to us, why do we want to visit them with what was not there before we came,” he queried.
Asked what the next project will be considering that Lagos-Ibadan was nearing completion, Amaechi listed: Kano-Ibadan, Port Harcourt-Benin and Kano- Maradi in Niger Republic, stating that the latter was likely going to be the fastest as loans for it is coming from European banks as opposed to that of the Chinese whose terms though better but very tedious to procure.
On the issue of linking Ebute Meta to the Apapa port, the Minister Said: “The reason why we didn’t go there is because we are trying to link narrow gauge to narrow gauge and standard gauge to standard gauge. They are at Iganmu but be rest assured that they will be completed at the same time as Lagos-Ibadan railline.”
As regards fencing, to protect railway infrastructure and commuter traffic, the Minister said, it is “very  expensive to fence. If you look at Itapke-Warri, you will see that we are fencing but the community is knocking them down. What do we do?” We will fence where we suspect more human interference like Lagos.”
Furthermore, on the issue of insufficient level crossing, under and overpasses on the rail corridor, the Minister informed that the Federal Government will provide its share while States of Lagos, Oyo and Ogun will be expected to do same so that whichever party that fails to provide its share will be held liable.
Also, speaking, the Board Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporate (NRC) Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan disclosed that there are over 55 overhead bridges, 6 underpasses and over 100 culvets from Lagos to Ibadan, but bearing in mind the need for more, the Corporation is interfacing with  Lagos, Ogun and Oyo State governments to provide more.
In underscoring what the Minister and the Chairman, NRC said, the Director, Rail, Mohammed Babakobi, added that as the cities develop along the rail development, it will be expected that the state government with the railline transversing their lands will provide the necessary infrastructure with time.
He further stated that the Ministry will provide pedestrian crossing which will be placed in strategic areas along the rail corridor.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, was among dignitaries who accompanied the Minister on the inspection tour.
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