The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was highly criticized at the sitting of the House Of Representative Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transportation on Thursday, during the budget defence for the transport ministry.
The lawmakers were angered by what they described as Amaechi’ s discrimination in railway construction, they accused him of building a standard gauge rail from Kano to Maradi, Niger Republic while constructing old model narrow gauge rail in other parts of the country.
They told him that huge funds that the lawmakers have approved for rail construction was for the entire country and not for some areas to be more favoured than the rest of the country.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Danjuma Goje and House Committee Chairman, Pat Azadu all spoke against systemic marginalization of the rest of Nigeria in the construction of rail lines, Senator Goje added that its unacceptable to act in such a way that put other regions in disadvantage.
The Chairman Committee on Port, Hon. Pat Asadu who was clearly not happy with the development, asked the Minister, ” Why won’ t you construct narrow- gauge across the country so that we can develop equally. I can’ t sit down and approve this. These are done with such impunity, my heart bleeds. This had been reoccurring. ”
In his reaction the Honourable Minister argued that the construction of standard gauge to Maradi, Niger republic is very strategic to Nigeria because when it is completed the French speaking country will turn to Nigeria for its import and export needs which will generate more revenue for our country.
The Minister said in his reply: ” The construction of Kaduna- Kano railways to link up the Abuja- Kaduna rail line has commenced. Survey and Design for Ibadan- Minna– Abuja is ongoing.
” Construction of the 284 kilometres Nigeria. – Maradi (Niger Republic) standard gauge, rail line enabling interconnectivity with countries in the West Africa sub- region for the promotion of trade and commerce.
” This important contribution by Nigeria would be mutually beneficial by adding to the economic growth of the two countries. ”
Amaechi added that the construction of Maradi- Kano rail was not out of sentiment but for the economic benefit of Nigeria as Niger Republic will be exporting her gold and uranium through Nigerian ports.