After about 60 staff from the construction company managing the Lagos Ibadan rail project tested positive for coronavirus, the Federal Government placed the opening of the project on hold.
The government has asked the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to increase the number of employees and ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols in order to ensure that the contractors meet the January deadline for the opening of the project, which is approximately 90 percent completed.
Transport Minister Chibuike Amaechi, who announced this during a television interview yesterday in Abuja, said: “First, let us admit that over 60 of our staff have been infected with COVID, not the Ministry of Transport, but the staff working on the rail project.” Fortunately, no one has died and I hope that no one will die, however you can see the kind of effort that everyone is making to bring the rail to work.
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Unfortunately, the contractor had to stop working because of a rise in the number of staff who had been infected with the virus, he announced that the intention was to open the rail project in the first week of January. The project will be initiated when the incidence of infection has dramatically decreased.
“We need to learn how to live with COVID, as far as we are concerned. I always applaud those who accomplished the feat, that we were to inaugurate the first week of January. Due to the increase in COVI-19 transmission, we had to avoid those doing minor completion work,’ Amaechi said.
If passengers continue to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, the minister has threatened to suspend train services on all routes.
“We’re going to allow the train to run, but if we see that we’re transporting COVID passengers from Lagos to Ibadan, we’re going to stop it, just like we’re threatening to stop the Kaduna-Abuja route if people don’t comply with the COVID-19 protocol.”