Barely 24 hours after the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi said in Lagos that ongoing drive by the current administration to revamp the rail sector in Nigeria, will cut across the 36 states of the federation, followers of the sector from South East have faulted the statement.
According to them, the region may had been officially cut off from the development scheme as several presentations on the need to consider Aba-Onitsha link for a standard gauge rail scheme had felled into silent ears of the federal government.
Business Hilights recalls that Senators form the region had stoutly objected the request made by the presidency for the lawmakers to approve a Chinese loan deal to be used to deliver some of the approved railway scheme which did not include any from the zone.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, had on the floor of the Senate objected, saying there is so much to argue before the loan can be accepted as whereas all the regions will be involved in suffering the repayment of the loan, South East and North East will not be part of the zones to enjoy the gains of the loan, hence no deal.
The loan request had since been hanging based on the objection.
However, the Minister attempted to explain why which was not accepted by the zone within the period.
According to statistics, the loan was meant for funding the Lagos-Ibadan (S’West), Kano-Kaduna (N’Central) and Lagos-Calabar (S’West/S’South), no mention was made for South East and North.
It was also believed that the Lagos-Ibadan will link up with Kano-Kaduna at a time the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway line was in shamble and out of use with no mention by the government.
According to a public affairs analyst, Dr. Ken Igboanugo, he said “If you listen to the comments of Senator Gbenga Ashafa who said the Senate would support effective delivery of the rail projects, Ashafa revealed that Senate have approved the release of the first part of the money needed for the project.
“Ashafa said as requested, the sum of $5.851 billion being the total approved loan would be expended on the modernisation of Lagos to Kano, Kano to Kaduna, Lagos to Ibadan and Calabar to Lagos rail segments.
Continuing, Igboanugo noted that “this is one of the reasons we are calling for restructuring because when you look at the scenario, you will see that the ongoing railway projects in the country is clearly facing only one side of the federation”.