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Transport Varsity in Daura, one of conditions for CCECC rail contracts—Minister

…Says Daura isn’t in Niger Republic, Biafra or Mali

At the groundbreaking ceremony of new Federal University of Transportation, Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home town in Katsina State on Monday, the Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, revealed how he was able to force Chinese construction giant, China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) donate the institution as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) amongst others.

Speaking at the ceremony in the presence of the President, the Minister revealed that I engaged the companies; the first engagement was when they were constructing Lagos-Ibadan.

“They were not so keen at spending their funds to build a university in Nigeria until I refused to sign the contract for the Lagos to Ibadan railway.

“I insisted that I will only sign if three things were done.

“The first thing is to take our children to China and train them by giving them a first degree in railway technology.

“Today as I speak, 60 of our children are in their second year and we thank CCECC and 90 are on their way to China this week, making it 150.

“The second is that, if we must sign the purchase of locomotives in China, they must build a factory where we can construct coaches, locomotives and wagon and today at Kajola that factory is being constructed.

“Finally, I insisted on the University of Transportation and today we are here for the groundbreaking of the university and for all we are grateful to CCECC and the Chinese government. (sic).

Decrying why there had been several criticisms on the location of the institution, Amaechi argued that “When we sited the factory at Kajola, there was no noise, nobody debated about it, nobody abused us for it unlike the site for the university.

According to him, “Daura is in Nigeria, it is not in any other part of the world. It is not in Niger Republic, Biafra or Mali, it is in Nigeria. So, what is wrong in siting the University of Transportation in Daura?

Continuing, he insisted that “I have no regret siting this university where I have sited it, it is not because I want to get any gain.”

However, there had been superior arguments against the site by transport industry analysts, who are querying the brain behind siting a specialized institution in a state that has no comparative advantage of any form of transportation hub or sub-sector amongst any other state in Nigeria.

According to the experts, a transportation university should be sited in a city or state with well known transport beehives either in rail, air, land or even water, stressing that none of these beehives can be seen in Katsina State.

They further argued that the site of the university will discourage intending students because it will put students on the road every time they have research assignment as there is nothing concerning transportation studies that is spectacular to use as case studies anywhere in Katsina State.

Earlier in his reasons, the Minister claimed that “It is my attempt at responding to the question of how to maintain and manage all the infrastructure we are building and realise that education is key.”

He however, commended the Governor of Katsina for the speed with which he donated about 413 hectares for the project.

Business Hilights gathered that CCECC is kicking off construction activities with the donation of $50m.