The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said on Saturday the possible delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project due to the outbreak of coronavirus is better than jeopardizing the health of Nigerians.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had said on Thursday the outbreak of coronavirus in China might delay the completion of the rail project.
Amaechi said the delay was because the majority of the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) workers handling the project are currently stuck in the South East Asian nation where the outbreak of the disease was first recorded.
According to him, the Chinese government prevented some of the workers from returning to Nigeria because of the virus.
The COVID- 19 which has become a global health challenge is threatening the April completion of the 154-kilometer rail project.
Reacting on the minister’s claim, the Lagos Railway District Manager, Jerry Oche, told journalists the Nigerian government would not sacrifice health of her citizens because of any project.
He said: “The simple question we should ask ourselves is what do we want? Do we want to be infected with the coronavirus because we want to meet the time for the completion of the project?
“Or we prefer a situation where the Chinese take care of themselves and get over the epidemics before coming to complete the project so that we all be safe and healthy?
“The project we are talking about is for the living people not for the dead. If the coronavirus should infect us, how do we handle that?”
Oche said most of the Chinese working with the CCECC went to China for the New Year celebration holidays and had not returned before the outbreak of the disease in their country.
He insisted that if the Chinese were going to come back to Nigeria and continue the project, they must be certified free of coronavirus in order to protect the country.
“If the project is going to be delayed and we are safe of this disease, I think it is better. Even, if they come and carried the virus, they won’t be able to do the work.
“It will now be double jeopardy for the country. We will be running from pillar to post to contain the spread and the work will be stopped also. Safety is still the first,” he added.
Join the conversation
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...
INVESTIGATION….N.3bn down the drain: Why water projects for Enugu communities don’t work
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE talks about some of the projects that are serving the people and how various WASH programmes have failed to tackle...
INVESTIGATION…PARKVIEW ESTATE: Exclusive images of how billionaire property developer incurred Lagos govt‘s anger
Many have seen the demolished building, but not many know the circumstances that led to the teardown of the about...
INVESTIGATION… N.3bn down the drain, as Enugu communities suffer from dry taps
In November 2020, three organizations and the Enugu State government celebrated the completion of N300 million worth of projects that were expected...
INVESTIGATION… How herdsmen crisis compounds woes of already deprived Ogun communities
Earlier in January, the Nigerian media space was awash with reports of violence between herders and farmers across the country....