The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has explained how the Coronavirus outbreak is affecting the speedy completion of Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Amaechi disclosed this on Wednesday while addressing participants at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) consultative round table.
According to Amaechi, the project would have been completed in May but might not be feasible anymore because the contractors handling the project are employees of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
“Lagos-Ibadan would have been ready in May. Unfortunately, nearly all of them that went for the Chinese New Year were quarantined by their government. Their government said they cannot come back until they find a solution to the Coronavirus.
“It is only those who didn’t travel that are here and therefore the speed of the construction has reduced,” he said.
In November 2019, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi assured that the project would be delivered by April 2020.
He, however, took to his Twitter handle in January 2020 to lament the pace of work done by the contractors.
“Looking at the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport. We’ll, however, continue to work and redouble our efforts to complete the project and meet set targets. #LagosIbadanRail,” he tweeted in January 2020.
The Minister at the CBN roundtable also lamented that Nigerians have politicised noting that, “everybody wants a railway in his village without bothering to ask, what is the relevance of railway in my village?”
Coronavirus, A Global Risk?
The World Health Organization in February raised its global risk assessment of the new coronavirus to its highest level after the epidemic spread to sub-Saharan Africa and financial markets slumped.
The virus has proliferated around the globe emerging on every continent except Antarctica, prompting many governments and businesses to try to stop people from traveling or gathering in crowded places.
It has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 84,000 worldwide — the vast majority in China — since it emerged apparently from an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December.
The Nigerian government on March 9 confirmed the second case of coronavirus in the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said newly confirmed case was a contact of the index case and not an importation into the country.