The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has again urged the National Assembly to stop probe into the Chinese loans. Amaechi, who spoke at the weekend during the inspection tour of the projects, said this could hinder the Federal Government from accessing a $5.3 billion loan request from China to kick-start the Ibadan-Kano part of the rail project.
He said the ministry was ready to commence the project but was still waiting for funding.
He said: “The National Assembly should stop this investigation of loan. They are not investigating corruption of construction. What we meant is that they should allow us to get the loan for Ibadan-Kano, which is about $5.3 billion, because if the Chinese government have the feeling that you don’t like the way they lend you money, they may withdraw their loan offers.”
He said that the construction companies had been asked to return to sites while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols as directed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The minister, who expressed displeasure with the delay in finishing the train stations, said that the Federal Government would not sit and fold its hands because of the pandemic, but would see to it that all projects are completed.
Meanwhile, Amaechi said he was hopeful the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail projects would be ready by January 2021.He said that the setback in meeting the completion deadline was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said there was no better way to tell Nigerians about what the government has done with the money borrowed than to embark on the trip for inspection with the media.
He said: “We have seen it all via this trip. The feedback from Nigerians is great and the journalists are here to get first-hand information. The stations are rolling stock; the construction company is at work, and the fact that this is a project that will outlive all of us here.
“When I was invited for this trip, I was very glad and I decided that instead of going to argue with naysayers, let the journalists, who are representatives of the people, come along.”
“You are the eyes and ears of the people. And I said please come and see what we are doing with the money that we borrowed. We didn’t borrow money for services, we did not borrow money for overhead expenditure, we borrowed money for capital projects, roads, bridges, power, and general infrastructure and this is the first time this administration is conducting series of inspections.”