By Thompson ABISOLA
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, approved N551.8 million for the construction of national freight office in Jibia, Katsina State.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Ameachi, disclosed this when he, along with the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to him, the national freight office is usually located at border posts and Jibia is between Katsina State and Niger Republic.
On Lagos – Ibadan rail project, the minister expressed the hope that it would be completed by June/July 2019
“We believe that by next year, we will begin to encourage those who transport by trucks between Lagos and Ibadan to use the rail.
“We believe that before the end of June, we will start running from January but, we may not be able to carry enough cargo, we will be able to do that by June/July.
“At that point, most of the trucks carrying cargo, going to Ibadan, must be on the rail so that we can save the Lagos/Ibadan road.
On his part, Fashola disclosed that the Council approved N1.6 billion as cost variation for the completion of Oweto bridge along the Oshegudu – Oweto road, linking Benue and Nasarawa states.
He expressed the hope that the project, when completed, would greatly ease the stress usually experienced by motorists plying the road.
Fashola disclosed that as part of deliberate efforts to ensure accident-free Yuletide, his ministry had identified 53 major (road) corridors with bad portions across the country.
He said contractors handling the 53 road projects had been directed to maintain working gauges for the next six weeks to enable motorists to appropriately use the roads.
The minister also announced that all Zonal Directors of the ministry on leave had been recalled while no senior staff would be allowed to go on annual leave in December and January 2019.
He said the directive was meant to ensure smooth movements of motorists throughout the periods of Christmas and the New Year.
He further revealed that the ministry was also addressing the challenges in the power sector to meet the festive demands of all citizens.
The minister said: “We also predicted power demand, nationwide, where the movement will go.
“So, the power sector is also preparing to ensure that damaged power poles or downed power lines and all of those little things that constrained the distribution end can be dealt with in order to improve the experience because we know the weather is changing, temperatures are rising, people need more cooling, more fans, more cold water.
“So, this is a well-planned Ember month period for us. We planned for the worst, we are hoping for the best and we hope that we can deliver a better experience for commuters this year again when compared to last year.”