Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has warned that the federal government may be forced to shut down train services if passengers do not comply with COVID-19 protocols.
The Minister made the submission on Monday, 11th January while speaking on a TV interview programme monitored by Naija News.
Amaechi noted that the train conveys a large number of people on a daily basis and if perhaps an infected person boards the train or covid-19 protocols are not observed, the rate of transmission will be very high.
Speaking on NTA Good Morning Nigeria programme, the Minister said: “If we see that we are conveying passengers who have Covid from Lagos to Ibadan and Ibadan to Lagos, we will stop it just like we are threatened to stop the one from Kaduna to Abuja if people don’t comply with the Covid protocols.
“Don’t forget that on Kaduna-Abuja, we convey 4,000 passengers in a day. Imagine that about 20 per cent have Covid, they can transmit Covid to the entire passengers. The rate of transmission will be high. The same is applicable to Lagos. Everybody must comply with the Covid protocols, wear your masks till the end of the journey.”
He reiterated that the $1.6bn Lagos-Ibadan railway project covering a distance of 156km would be completed this month and President Muhammadu Buhari will virtually commission the project.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation had in December 2020 launched the operation of the Lagos-Ibadan railway.
Meanwhile, the federal government has said that once it receives a $5.3bn loan from China, it will start construction of a railway line from Ibadan to Kano.
The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, made this known in Abuja on Saturday.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3 billion to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract.” Amaechi said.
“The moment I announce that the federal government has awarded a contract of $5.3 billion to CCECC to construct Ibadan-Kano, they assume the money has come in, no.”
“Up till now, we have not gotten the money a year after we have applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence,” he added.
The minister added that the Ibadan-Kano railway line would connect six cities once it was completed.
These cities are; Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Minna, Ilorin, Osogbo and Ibadan.