China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, has kept to its promise, completing the Lagos metro blue railway line.
The project, which has become an addition to the country’s infrastructure base and is done by the company, brings the total railway project CCECC has completed in Nigeria in the five years to about 730km.
The completed segment of the blue line is 12km spanning between Mile 2 and the Marina downtown.
The Lagos blue line mega station buildings on Marina and Mile 2 are architectural wonders, with the elevated high bridge railway track over Lagos lagoon, the National Theatre wetland neighborhood, and running parallel with the CMS long motor bridge.
Preparatory to the commissioning, the Lagos Municipal Transport Authority, LAMATA, has lauded the quality of the work done by CCECC.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who said the project was a promise kept by his administration, boasted that the totality of the Lagos metro line segmented into six would convey 500,000 daily when completed.
Given this figure and if this completed segment is one of the six equal parts, it will move about 31 million commuting Lagos population in a year, with a daily average of about 84,000 passengers.
Kolawole Ojelabi, the Consultant, Corporate Communication of LAMATA, who made these disclosures to newsmen, added that the completion of the infrastructure was in fulfillment of the promise made by Governor Sanwo-Olu, who he said had promised that the project would be completed in the last quarter of 2022 ahead of the commencement of passenger operations in the first quarter of 2023.
He said the blue line project was one of the six rail lines and monorails prescribed for Lagos in the state’s strategic transport master plan (STMP) and its construction had been divided into phases for ease of implementation.
On completion, the entire railway system is to move more than 500,000 passengers daily. That also translates to over 182 million passengers a year.
At CCECC Lagos Office, Mr. David Zhao, Head of Public Affairs and Legal Matters, said: “The LRMT Blue Line is an EMU (Electric Motor Unit) Scheme, with a total distance of about 27km from Marina to Okokomaiko and will be served by 11 stations.
“The alignment track is designed to have both elevated and at-ground levels. This plan was initiated by the Lagos State Government to meet the current economic and population demands.
“Its completion will greatly alleviate the traffic pressure and speed up the local economic development, further consolidating the position of Lagos as the economic, transportation, and logistic center of West Africa, and promoting the development of other parts of Nigeria.
“Its successful completion and operation will also provide beneficial references and guidance for the planning and construction of railway systems in other Nigerian cities. Meanwhile, it builds up another monument to witness the friendship between China and Nigeria.
“The train cars will be delivered brand new and clean, flashy, air-conditioned, roomy, and spacious and the service would not fall short of the standards set by CCECC’s previous projects that are in operation.”
In March, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun had an audience with the Nigerian media at the Lagos International Airport after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the new terminal of the airport also built by CCECC.
Ambassador Cui in the discussion explained how the projects executed by Chinese firms in Nigeria, especially CCECC, form part of the crux of the diplomatic framework and policies of China towards Nigeria.
Speaking with CCECC in Lagos on the Blue Railway line, the gains of the project in creating jobs and a skills base for Nigerians featured prominently, the office explained: “At present, there are 40 Chinese employees and 800 local employees in the Lagos Light Rail Blue Line Project, with the percentage of Nigerian employees exceeding 95.
“The project provides a lot of employment opportunities, among which the number of technical staff reaches 400 and the number of management staff reaches 40, providing Nigeria with a large number of skilled and managerial talents.
“These are some tangible and lasting gains of a project like this. In the four major railway projects the company had executed in recent years, it has been the same story. For the Abuja Metro and Abuja-Kaduna line, the job creation possibility was more than 20,000 local hands, many of whom later got groomed as experts, with some even taken to China for courses in the sector.”