Amaechi To Tinubu: Your Contributions To Nation-Building Cannot Be Overemphasised

A file photo combination of Rotimi Amaechi and Bola Tinubu.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has hailed Bola Tinubu, describing the former Lagos State Governor as one whose contributions to nation-building cannot be overemphasised.

Amaechi said this on Monday in a tweet on his official handle to celebrate the chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who turned 69.

“Happy birthday to an accomplished politician & respected elder statesman
@AsiwajuTinubu,” he tweeted. “Your contributions to nation-building & to the growth of the APC in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised. We appreciate you & share in your joy & celebration today.”

Tributes have been pouring in from many quarters including from President Muhammadu to mark Tinubu’s birthday.

Better Together

The Nigerian leader who had virtually attended the birthday colloquium of the APC chieftain said the country is better off together.

READ ALSO: Inflation And Unemployment: It’s Not Enough To Focus On Negatives – Adesina

“Despite occasional inter-ethnic tensions in our national history, it seems to me that we have all agreed on one point that, notwithstanding our diversity of ethnicity, culture, language, and religion, Nigerians are better together; even stronger together,” he noted at the event held in Kano on Monday.

“We must count our blessings in Nigeria and see in them the crucial factors of peace and unity.”

 

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks virtually at Bola Tinubu’s Colloquium

 

He also commended the celebrant for always being an advocate of unity and cohesion in Nigeria.

“This has been a constant factor in his outstanding political career, from the time he served in the short-lived senate of the Third Republic to his involvement in the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12 mandate of the late Chief MKO Abiola, to his much-acclaimed period of service as Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007,” Buhari added.

“The ranks of Asiwaju’s political collaborators, whether as party members, comrades in the struggle, members of his cabinet, or his advisers, assistants and political associates, have always reflected a pan-Nigeria attitude. I believe all of us here can also confirm that the same outlook of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other like-minded Nigerians eventually made possible the coalition of four political parties into what we now see as our great party, the All Progressives Congress.”

 

2023: Only God Can Tell Who Will Become Nigeria’s President – Transport Minister

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has dismissed suggestions that he is being touted as the country’s next president, noting that only God knows Nigeria’s next leader.

Amaechi who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics explained that he is focussing on his job as a minister and would not want to be distracted.

READ ALSO: Kano-Maradi Rail Project To Cost Nigeria $1.9bn, Says Rotimi Amaechi

“I am still the Minister for Transportation and only God can tell who will be the President of Nigeria in 2023,” the 58-year-old Minister said during the programme.

The Minister had earlier said the Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail project will cost the Nigerian government $1.9bn.

“The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe,” the former Rivers Governor added, noting, however, that the government is yet to secure the loan.

“We are about concluding it,” Amaechi said.

On how long it will take the country to repay the loan,  he explained that it is not within the jurisdiction of his ministry but noted that the railway project will commence on Tuesday.

“That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance,” the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said.

“So, that question can be directed to the Minister for Finance. For us in Transportation, our job is to work with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”

According to him, the project was initiated based on national interest, stressing that it would open up the country to more investment.

“The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria; just 20 kilometres. So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking,” the minister said.

 

Kano-Maradi Rail Project To Cost Nigeria $1.9bn, Says Rotimi Amaechi

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an interview on a Channels Television programme.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Sunday said the Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail project will cost the Nigerian government $1.9bn. 

“The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe,” the Minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. 

Amaechi who is a former Governor of Rivers State, noted, however, that the country has not secured the money, stressing that “we are about concluding.”


On how long it will take the country to repay the loan, the 58-year-old explained that it is not within the jurisdiction of his ministry but noted that the railway project will commence on Tuesday.

“That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance,” the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain added.

“So, that question can be directed to the Minister for Finance. For us in Transportation, our job is to work with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”

READ ALSO: [2023] Only God Can Tell Who Will Become Nigeria’s President – Transport Minister

He explained that the project will open up the country to more investment, arguing that it is for the best interest of Nigeria for the Kano-Maradi railway to be constructed.

“The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria; just 20 kilometres. So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking,” Amaechi said.

The Minister who also spoke about politics in the country, dismissed suggestions that he is being touted as the next president, noting that only God knows Nigeria’s next leader.

“I am still the Minister for Transportation and only God can tell who will be the President of Nigeria in 2023,” he added.

 

Insecurity: Restructuring Not As Critical As Hunger And Poverty – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi does not see anything wrong with calls for the restructuring of the country but insists tackling hunger and poverty is more critical to the federal government. 

“If to you what is important is restructuring, I don’t see anything wrong with restructuring but I am saying it is not the most critical problem we have,” the Minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. “The most critical problem we have is that hunger and poverty are breeding insecurity.”

Amaechi who was the governor of Rivers State between 2007 and 2015, explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is more concerned about reducing poverty in the country, and believes that creating jobs for the people will keep them away from crime.

READ ALSO: UN Says At Least 110 Were Killed In Borno, Demands Immediate Release Of Kidnapped Victims

“If you are able to create employment, you create security. If you like hire as many men as you want to hire that are policemen, you would do nothing until you put food in the hands of people,” the 55-year-old who moved to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in November 2013, added. “When you do not create a legitimate economy, the people will create for themselves an illegitimate economy and be able to feed themselves.”

– More Than Boko Haram –

While admitting that many farmers are unable to go to their farms in some parts of the country, the APC chieftain said Nigeria is facing a kind of insecurity unlike what was obtainable in the past.

 

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an interview on a Channels Television programme.

 

“We are facing a different kind of insecurity,” the minister noted, a few days after the United Nations said at least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others wounded when Boko Haram insurgents attacked villages near Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

“When we were in power as governors, the problem we were facing was Boko Haram. Not is it much more than Boko Haram. We need to address those issues.”

 

‘We Have To Go After The Hoodlums’: Amaechi Wants Attackers Of NPA H/Q Punished

A damaged portion of the NPA headquarters. Photo: [email protected] Rotimi Amaechi.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has called for the arrest and prosecution of those behind the attack on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s headquarters in Lagos State.

“We toured the H/Q today & it wasn’t a good sight. If people are arrested for the crime perpetrated, they will not do it again. We have to go after the hoodlums & ensure they pay,” the former Rivers State governor said during a tour of the facility on Sunday.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS Curfew Lifted In Akwa Ibom

While he admitted that protests are legitimate, Amaechi condemned those who hide under the guise of demonstrations to destroy public and private properties.

“The right to protest is defined in the laws of the land, it doesn’t include burning people’s private houses and public assets that belong to every Nigerian,” he added.

 

He described the damage as disastrous, recalling that he had been part of protests as a student but explained that they did not take the laws into their hands during those demonstrations.

“If you remember in 1983, during the time of Babangida and Buhari, we were always on the streets as students, we never took laws into our hands and we never destroyed people’s property,” the minister said.

He said with the level of destruction, NPA should come to the cabinet and ask for funds for the reconstruction of the place.

The NPA headquarters was part of the properties attacked by hoodlums in Lagos State in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

Early last month, thousands of Nigerians thronged to the streets, calling for an end to police brutality and extra-judicial killings by the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

A largely peaceful demonstration in several parts of the country, however, later turned violent with arson, looting and killing of security personnel and civilians alike after it was hijacked by hoodlums.

 

 

 

Sanwo-Olu, Amaechi Visit Site Of Train Accident In Oshodi

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has visited the site of the Monday fatal accident involving a commuter train and two vehicles.

Two persons reportedly died in the accident, which occurred along the driveways into the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena in Oshodi.

Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was in the company of the governor during the on-the-spot assessment of the site.

The victims, a father, and a son were said to be driving into the shopping arena when they were caught up by the speeding train. Their Highlander Jeep got stuck on the rail track.

All the six persons in the other vehicle – a passenger bus – escaped with different degrees of injuries after the train dragged the commercial bus 800 meters away from the point of collision.

Sanwo-Olu sympathised with the families of the victims while noting that the accident was regrettable. The Governor said the incident happened on the day the State Government and the Federal Government reached an agreement to close down the shopping complex’s gates at the railway line because of safety concerns.

He said: “This incident is regrettable because it happened on the day all stakeholders reached a consensus to close down the gates into the shopping arena. And this is part of the concerns we have been raising about commuters’ safety on this axis. We need to act fast. This fatal accident should strengthen our resolve to do the needful and prevent a repeat of the sad incident in the future.

“It is also a clarion call on our people to be safety conscious whenever they need to drive across the rail tracks. If there is a slow movement of vehicles at any railway bypass, then there is a need to keep a safe distance from the rail tracks. We have been rolling out advocacy on this and we will intensify efforts on it. Safety of the people is paramount and we will do all required to ensure we put a stop to this kind of accident.”

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the State Government and the Federal Government were on the move to create alternative entry and exit driveways for the shopping arena and other vulnerable points along the railway corridor.

This effort, the Governor believed, will strengthen the safety of commuters and motorists along rail corridors.

Prior to the visit by the Governor and the Minister, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) had evacuated the mangled vehicles from the rail track.

Those injured had been treated and discharged by medical personnel deployed to the site of the accident.

READ ALSO: Two Killed As Vehicles Collide With Train In Oshodi

NASS Will Ensure Nigeria Does Not Enter ‘Chinese Debt Trap’ – Senator Arise

 

 

Senator Ayo Arise has said the National Assembly will ensure Nigeria gets favourable terms when negotiating for loans, stressing that the lawmakers have a responsibility to make sure the country does not enter into the “Chinese debt trap.”

Arise said this on Wednesday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Arise while admitting that the country needs funding to develop its infrastructure, said there is a need for Nigeria to thoroughly look into the terms of loans from China.

“On one side, we need money to develop our infrastructure, and on the other side, the National Assembly has the responsibility to ensure that we do not enter into negotiations that will actually put this country into the so-called Chinese debt trap,” he said. “So, it is a good thing that this is coming into the open.”

READ ALSO: Allow Us Complete $5.3bn Loan From China – Amaechi Appeals To NASS

Arise who was the Chairman, Committee on Privatization in the 6th Senate admitted that though the terms of the agreements on the loans may not be rewritten, the National Assembly will ensure the future of the country is not jeopardized.

“Even if nothing is directly achieved in terms of rewriting whatever agreement we had in the past,” he said, “the National Assembly will use this opportunity to ensure that terms are defined for international loans and ensure that there is no agreement that would actually jeopardise the future of this country and our sovereignty in terms of our assets.”

 

Senator Ayo Arise during his appearance on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, August 19th, 2020.

 

While citing Kenya, Djibouti, Malaysia and Sri Lanka as countries grappling with the repayment of foreign loans, Arise called on the Nigerian government to plan how to effectively repay the loans.

“There are so many examples all around the world particularly in the African continent and Asia that leaves a lot of concern to people of those countries,” Senator Arise said.

He added, “If proper planning is not put into it, 30, 20 years might seem like a long time, but it will soon be here.”

Lawmakers’ Probe

On Monday, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi appeared before the House of Representatives Public Hearing on Treaties and Protocols.

 

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an interview on a Channels Television programme.

 

During the hearing, Amaechi said he is unaware of an N33 billion contract by the Ministry of Transport but only a $1.6 billion contract.

According to him, the action of the committee is political, claiming that the investigation by the lawmakers suggested that the various arms of government do no support the loan.

 

 

Amaechi Calls For Regulation Of Nigeria’s Social Media Space

 

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has called for the regulation of Nigeria’s social media space in order to curb the spread of fake news.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Monday, Mr Amaechi explained that the rumoured attack on him at the Rigasa train station in Kaduna, only shows that there are people who deliberately want to bring down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“This so-called social media, the earlier they start regulating it, the better.

“We either start regulating this or there are people who deliberately want to bring down the government, and I don’t know what they want to achieve by that, is it that the government can’t protect its own minister?” he asked.

READ ALSO: My Convoy Was Never Attacked By Bandits In Kaduna, Says Amaechi

Mr Amaechi explained that there was no incident of shooting or kidnapping of him or anyone at the train station.

“Most of these stories we hear are not true, they had earlier on said there was an attack on passengers on the same Rigasa, I had to tell NRC to make a rejoinder because there was none.”

My Convoy Was Never Attacked By Bandits In Kaduna, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has debunked news making the rounds that his convoy was attacked by bandits at the Rigasa train station in Kaduna state on Sunday. 

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Mr Amaechi narrated the incidence and described the story as ‘totally false and misleading’.

According to him, there was never a time his convoy was attacked immediately he disembarked from the Abuja – Kaduna bound train.

He noted that the false story has further lent credence for the need by the Federal Government to pass the social media law in order to checkmate fake news.

“This so-called social media, the earlier they start regulating it, the better.

“I left the train, walked into the car alone, my security just joined me and then there was government house security, they conveyed me straight to the hotel; I slept for some few minutes, went to a party and left the party at 12 midnight.

“It was after I left the party I saw calls from my wife and it was frantic and I was wondering why my wife will call me for over 15 to 20 times, then I called back to say what is going on, that’s when she said thank God, that they said they attempted to kidnap me and that there was a shootout.

“We either start regulating this (social media), or there are people who deliberately want to bring down the government, and I don’t know what they want to achieve by that, is it that the government can’t protect its own minister?” he asked.

READ ALSO: Planned Protest Against Service Chiefs Aimed At Embarrassing Buhari – Presidency

Mr Amaechi stressed that it is not the duty of the Ministry of Transport to provide security for passengers and their responsibilities end from the point passengers leave the train station.

“I don’t know whether the policemen came for me or they were there to protect, but I will find out if they came to protect passengers.

“The job of the ministry of transport stops as you disembark the train. I’m not the IG of police or the Governor of Kaduna state, but our responsibility stops once you leave the station; up to the station, we had policemen.

“As at yesterday, there was nothing wrong; no shooting or kidnapping,” he restated.

Nigerians ‘Attack’ Rotimi Amaechi In Spain

Amaechi Describes Claim Of Appointing Governorship Candidate As Mischievous

 

Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has said that he was attacked by some Nigerians in Spain. 

The minister revealed this via a statement on his Twitter page.

In his tweet, Mr. Amaechi said, “Some minutes ago, I was attacked by a few misguided Nigerians while on national assignment at a climate change event in Madrid, Spain”.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: IPOB Members Attack Ekweremadu In Germany

According to his tweet, the assailants were quickly repelled by the Spanish police before they could do any harm.

He noted that he is doing fine, adding that he was not hurt.

Buhari, Amaechi And The Ministers Who Retained Their Portfolios

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, and a couple others on Wednesday retained their portfolios as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

The President retained his position as minister for petroleum, while Alhaji Lai Mohammed retained his portfolio minister of information and culture.

Others who retained their position in President Buhari’s cabinet include:

READ ALSO: Buhari Assigns Portfolios To Ministers (FULL LIST)

Adamu Adamu (Education)

Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs)

Hadi Sirika (Aviation)

Abubakar Malami (Justice)

Lai Mohammed (Information)

Rotimi Amaechi (Transport)

Ogbonnaya Onu (Science and Technology).

*Mr Babatunde Fashola can however be said to have partially retained his ministry, as his portfolio was split into two. The former Lagos state governor who previously was head of Works, Power and Housing, now only mans the ministry of Works and Housing.

Declare Nyesom Wike Duly Re-Elected, Rivers Women Charge INEC

 

 

Rivers Women from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) to conclude the Collation Process for the Governorship election and declare Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike duly re-elected.

They also demanded that the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Rivers State, Obo Effanga be allowed to conclude the Collation Process, since he conducted the 2019 General Elections.

The Rivers Women were mostly dressed in White to signify peace and their commitment to the peaceful conclusion of the 2019 General Elections.

They embarked on a peaceful March to the State Headquarters of the Nigerian Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) warned the Nigerian Army to stop forthwith the Intimidation of the Rivers people.

The women who were in their thousands held placards with the following inscriptions: “Amaechi you cannot be Governor for a third term “, “Nigerian Army should stop intimidating Rivers people”, “Leave Rivers REC Alone” and “INEC must conclude Collation of Rivers Governorship Election results “.

READ ALSO: Court Upholds Fayemi’s Election, Dismisses PDP’s Appeal

They stated that they overwhelmingly voted for Governor Wike across the state and in most cases they stayed at the Collation Centres to defend their votes, despite the threats by some security personnel and hoodlums.

Leader of Rivers Women, Mrs Ukel Oyaghiri said that the process of Collation and Declaration of Results must be concluded as unnecessary delay is no longer appreciated.

“We want our results to be declared . We don’t want further delays . The state is at a standstill because of the non release of our results. This delay is becoming dangerous.

“The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga should be allowed to conclude the Collation process. He was the one who conducted the elections. This is a process that should be concluded by him,” Oyaghiri said.

She urged the police to stand with the people by joining them to defend the votes of Rivers people. She said said that the votes of Rivers people must count and there should be no further delay.

A Rivers Women Leader, Chinyeru Agbaru also noted that all results in the custody of INEC should be collated and declared.

She stated that there is no reason for the Resident Electoral Commissioner to be redeployed as being canvassed by the APC in Rivers State.

Also speaking, Women Leader of Rivers PDP, Mrs Victoria Allison appreciated the police for their interventions while the governorship election and collation got underway on March 10.

She said that Rivers Women were dressed in white to show that they support the peaceful conclusion of the 2019 General Election adding that Rivers State successfully held the Governorship election and the votes of the people must count.

A Female Youth Leader, Soibi Ibibo Jack said that Governor Wike has won the election and should be declared winner by INEC.

She warned the police against disrupting the Governorship Collation exercise as currently being rumoured. Jack said that the police are under obligation to be neutral.

Jack said that those calling for this transfer of the Resident Electoral Commissioner are doing so because he refused to be compromised. She said he should be allowed to complete the Collation.

Responding on behalf of the Rivers State Police Command, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Betty Otimeye said the message of Rivers women will be passed to the appropriate authorities for action to be taken.

At the DSS Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers women said that they demand rests on the declaration of all collated results within scheduled period.