R-L: Former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Former Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Ameachi and Former Oyo State Governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi during the Ground Breaking ceremony of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project with extension to the Lagos Port complex, Apapa, at the Nigerian Railway Corporation compound, Ebute-Metta, Lagos.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr Sabiu Zakari, has come out to clear the air on the raging controversy over the total contract sum of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.

According to him, total cost of the project was 1.58 billion dollars as against two billion dollars being insinuated by some media.

Zakari made this known in a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Press of the Ministry, Anastasia Ogbonna, on Wednesday in Abuja, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

He said the cost index/km of the project is 4.09 million dollars as against the 13.6 million dollars also alleged by a section of the media.

The Permanent Secretary assured Nigerians that the Lagos-Ibadan railway project was being executed in the spirit of transparency and accountability, which the present administration stood for.

According to him, the clarification became imperative following insinuations by some media organisations that the project was inflated over and above “a non-existent one in Ghana.”

Zakari said that information has it that “at best, the said Ghanaian project is at conceptual stage as there were neither construction designs nor cost estimates.

“Similarly, to give credence to the fact that there is no basis for comparison as raised by the allegations, the Ghanaian government has since refuted the publication.”

He described the said Ghanaian project as containing a lot of factual inaccuracies.

Zakari explained that the Lagos-Ibadan railway project was actually 386km since it is a double track rail line.

He said this was against the 156km alleged which is just the distance from Ebute Meta (Lagos) and Ibadan terminal stations only.

According to him, railway project does not depend solely on the distance between terminal points but rely on various factors.

He listed some of the factors to include but not limited to terrain, core operation accessories, land acquisition and compensation, earthworks, bridges, culverts and stations.

The permanent secretary said that ‘Due Diligence’ was followed in the award of the contract.