By Lucy Ogalue
Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has said that the inauguration of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line has been put on hold due to the upsurge of COVID-19 in the country.
Amaechi, who disclosed this in Abuja, said that over 60 staff on project site have been infected by Covid19 while trying to complete the project.
“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.
“They are people sacrificing their lives to get to that point, we are of the view when we made that decision that Nigeria will not say 2020 was a bad year, so remove one year and add another year to Buhari administration.
“As far as we are concern, we need to learn how to leave 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 COVID-19 transmission.
“The timeline for inauguration will depend on COVID-19. If COVID-19 stop 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 Covid from Lagos to Ibadan, we will stop it. Just like we are threatening to stop Kaduna-Abuja if people don’t comply with the COVID-19 Protocol.”
He said that the Abuja-Kaduna route convey about 4,000 passengers daily, stating that if anyone transmit COVID-19 onboard it would be a serious challenge.