THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA –
Yesterday, Wednesday, February 8, 2017, the National Assembly rejected claims by Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi that the Senate was yet to approve loans that would be used for rail infrastructure.
According to report, the spokeperson of the Senate Aliyu Abdullahi in Abuja said that Amaechi alleged that the non-approval of the loan was frustrating construction Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kano rail lines.
The Senate vowed to challenge the presidency over the claims made by the Minister of Transport. It said the minister’s claim was not only false but misrepresenting and contradictory to available facts. And it insisted that the minister must withraw the claim which was made at the North Central town hall meeting in Ilorin on Monday.
At the North Central town hall meeting in Ilorin on Monday, Amaechi presented details of the rail project for the people of Kogi, Niger and Kwara.
Amaechi explained that the federal government had secured $7.5 billion loan for rail projects but was waiting for the National Assembly’s approval to access the loan. This $7.5 billion loan is part of the $30 billion the Buhari administration said it needs to finance infrastructure projects.
The minister said that $1. 4 billion of the loan was for the construction of the rail gauge from Lagos to Ibadan, while $6. 1 billion would be used on Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kaduna-Kano line.
Contrary to Amaech’s claim, the spokesperson of the Senate said:
‘As at today, the only request for approval from the executive for loan was the one dated January 27, 2017, and signed by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
‘The request was seeking a ‘resolution of National Assembly for issuance of one billion Euro Bond in the International Capital Market for funding of 2016 budget deficit’ and we immediately granted the approval.
‘Also, in the letter quoted above, the government mentioned the two rail lines cited by the minister as part of the projects for which the Euro Bond will be utilised.
‘So, we do not understand what the grouse of Mr. Amaechi is.
‘We view that statement based on false and misinformed premise strongly as a mere attempt to incite the people against the National Assembly.’
So, the Senate insists that it never got such loan request from Ministry of Transport.
The Senate also added that:
‘As a former Speaker of a State House of Assembly, we believe that a minister like Amaechi should always check his facts and refrain from making unguarded and inciting remarks against the legislature.
‘What Nigeria needs at this point is for all arms of government to work together and create the synergy necessary to take Nigeria out of the present economic crisis we have found ourselves.
‘Comments designed to infuriate one arm of government or incite the people against another arm of the government will do no one any good.’