By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA — THE Federal Government said it has reviewed the Lagos-Ibadan-Kano rail project by relocating its station within the MKO Abiola Trade Fair Complex in Abeokuta to avoid the demolition of houses, numbering about 2,000.
Speaking in Abeokuta on Sunday during a working visit to the sites, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, declared that Federal Government considered the review of the rail project and relocation of the rail station to MKO Abiola Trade Fair Complex in Abeokuta in order to save demolition of thousands of houses that are within the right of way of the rail lines and rail station to be located in Abeokuta.
He said: “We are working with Ogun State government as well as Lagos State government but it is just that there are more problems in Lagos State as a result of cosmopolitan status of Lagos State. That is the same problem we have met in Abeokuta as a result of cosmopolitan status.
“But the problem in Abeokuta is not gas and petroleum pipes. In fact, the land we have acquired for the project appears to have been overtaken by the people who are building houses and then, we have made a decision to move to other location, we believe that we should relocate to a better place for business, people and passengers. That is where we are going to now, the MKO Abiola Trade Fair Complex.
“What you can see is that we have relocated the station now to a conducive place where the demolition of number of houses will be reduced by more than a thousand. Even, when the governor saw the number of houses to be demolished, he fought and we have agreed to relocate it to MKO Abiola Trade Fair Complex. Now, this is where the station will be. We are building a rail station, a hotel and malls.”
It will be recalled that the Lagos-Ibadan-Kano rail project which starts in Apapa, Lagos state with stretches to Ebute-Meta -Papalanto-Abeokuta-Ibadan which is proposed to terminate in Kano state is designed to have a station at Papalanto.
Amosun commends FG
Responding, Governor Ibikunle Amosun lauded the Federal Government for the railway lines and Amaechi’s discretion to save thousands of houses on the rail right of way.
He said: “We met there, and we took some decision together to demolish over 1,000 houses and I said this will not happen under our watch. Yes, we demolish when we don’t have any alternatives, but this one, No. That’s what I’ve said on behalf of 7.2 million good people of Ogun State.
“We are now demolishing MKO Abiola Trade Fair Complex, but the good news is that we are relocating it to a better place, we are going to put it in another place in order to avoid demolishing almost 2,000 houses.”
Imagine, the number of families and people the demolition will affect and we have said, no. They will now create engineering solution here. The Trade Fair Complex will now be our rail station-Abeokuta Rail Station.”