The Federal Government has put on hold opening of the Lagos-Ibadan railway, after about 60 workers of the construction company that handled the project tested positive for coronavirus.
To ensure the contractors meet the January target for the opening of the project, which is about 90 per cent completed, government had asked the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to increase the number of workers and ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
Minister for Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, who disclosed this during a television interview, yesterday, in Abuja said: “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 with COVID. Luckily, nobody has died and I pray nobody will die, but you can see the kind of sacrifice everybody is making to get the rail to function.”
He disclosed that the plan was to open the rail project in the first week of January, unfortunately the contractor had to stop work due to upsurge in the number of workers who had been infected with the virus. The project will be opened when the infection rate has greatly reduced.
“As far as we are concerned, we need to learn how to live with COVID. I really congratulate those that achieved that feat, we were to inaugurate first week in January. We had to stop those doing minor completion work because of the rise in COVI-19 transmission,” Amaechi said.
The minister threatened to stop train services on all routes if passengers refuse to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
“We will allow the train to run, but if we see that we are conveying passengers who have COVID from Lagos to Ibadan, we will stop it, just as we are threatening to stop services on Kaduna-Abuja route if people don’t comply with the COVID-19 protocol.”