Apparently worried that the December deadline set for the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project by the Federal Government might not met, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday carpeted the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for the slow pace of work on the Lagos end of the standard gauge rail lin.

A visibly disturbed Amaechi accused the contractors of failing to mobilise its workers to site on the excuse that some sub-contractors could not deliver the portion of work given to them.

The minister, who expressed his deep concern over the shoddy handling of the project during his inspection of the $1.5bn standard gauge rail project at the Ologun-Eru area of Oyo State, maintained that the company appeared not to be concerned about the need for government to meet the commissioning deadline.

He lamented: “If I say I am impressed with the CCECC on the Lagos axis of this project, then I am lying. We are just not there in the Lagos area at all.

“We have resolved all the crises in Lagos; and I must commend the Lagos State Water Corporation people for resolving the water pipelines issue which constituted a major hindrance to the project. After the resolution of this issue, the CCECC has refused to mobilise to site in Lagos.

“The CCECC gave reasons for the slow pace of work at the Lagos end. They claimed that the jobs given to some of the sub-contractors were not met. For instance, the person relocating the water pipes was expected to finish that by November 2nd; but now the person is asking for additional two months to complete that.

“The excuse given by the sub-contractor is that there are other issues that have to be solved before the water pipes can be relocated. For me, this excuse, although tenable, is not excusable.

“There is a need for them to speed up because the speed between part of Ogun to Ibadan is encouraging; but the speed from Apapa to Ebute-Meta and to some other parts of Lagos is discouraging. The solution to the water pipelines has been found, but relocation is what is delaying us now”, Amaechi added.

It would be recalled that the minister had about two months ago expressed similar concern on the slow execution of the contract following which he had to summon the Managing Director to a meeting in his office to determine how to fast-track the project.