‘Construction of $2.4bn Lagos rail to ease congestion’

By Maduka Nweke, 08034207864

The red line rail project being constructed by the Lagos State government would help to ease traffic congestion as well as open up the Badagry axis. 

According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Ekundayo Mobereola, while addressing the media recently in the company of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Olanrewaju Elegushi, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Oluseyi Whenu, among others.

Mobereola, who stated that the red line project, valued at $2.4 billion (equivalent to N456 billion), would be delivered on the build operate and transfer (BOT) model, cited paucity of fund as a major challenge.

He said the right of way “was a problem for years. It took the Federal Government under the previous administration four and half years to approve the right of way. Our application was delayed for this period because the right of way belonged to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).

“We are mindful of the problem of transportation in Lagos State. Towards the end of next year, something would happen. Our rail project is 27km and we are doing it in phases. We are doing Mile 2 to CMS now and we would do Mile 2 to Okokomaiko later,” he said.

He said Lagos was the only state in the world to have embarked on such project without federal support, adding that such projects normally take around seven years, and in some places 22 years, to complete. The commissioner said it took Dubai, with all its resources, seven years to complete its rail project.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had decried the diversion of some money meant for a rail project to other projects, adding that if a loan was secured for a particular project, it should be used for that project for easy accountability.

He particularly noted that a substantial part of the $1.005 billion loan from the Chinese Exim Bank, obtained for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking Lagos with Kano, was moved elsewhere.

Housing: Anambra  builds 400 units to reduce accommodation problem

The Anambra State government has concluded plans that would ease the construction of 400 housing units in the capital to alleviate the accommodation problems of the citizenry.

Governor Willie Obiano announced the development during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Obinwanne Housing Estate situated between Enugu-Agidi, Amawbia and Nawfia in the Awka Capital Territory.

Obiano  advised investors to take advantage of the sound security network in the state and invest in the estate, pointing out that the project would go a long way to ease accommodation problems in the state.

Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the Anambra State Housing Development Corporation, Chief Godson Ezenagu, called on the indigenes of Enugu-Agidi, Amawbia and Nawfia to cooperate with investors to actualise government’s plans in the area.

Ezenagu disclosed that the housing estate would be provided with facilities such as schools, markets, banks, and other infrastructure that would make it a liveable city.

The chairman said interested individuals or developers could buy into the scheme on completion, either to build their own houses or rent developed buildings if they desire. He announced that the cost of building materials would be highly subsidised for developers in the estate.

Ezenagu commended Governor Obiano for his developmental accomplishments especially in the area of security.

While appreciating the import of provision of accommodation, the Governor said that as Nigerians struggle to have roof over their heads, the state would encourage any developer who would give the indigenes of the state affordable accommodation. This is in line with the appeal by a non-profit organisation, Shelter Origins, urging government at all levels to support affordable housing by providing infrastructure at project sites.

The Executive Director of Shelter Origins, Mr. Ezekiel Ojo, who made the appeal maintained that Nigerians could have affordable housing units if government would provide land, electricity, road networks to connect city centre, and all hands must be on deck to achieve this in the country.

He called on the authorities concerned to identify sincere private developers to drive affordable housing, adding that, “affordable houses have to do with passion and humanity.”

Ojo disclosed that the group has constructed over 500 houses to accommodate displaced individuals in Abuja through a partnership arrangement with MTN Foundation, Cisco International, Union Bank of Nigeria, American Embassy, Larfarge and individuals to build affordable houses in the FCT, Nasarawa and Plateau states.

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