FG Approves $5.3bn Ibadan-Kano Rail Project

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

 

The Federal Government has approved the $5.3billion Ibadan to Kano standard gauge rail project.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos during the third Maritime Stakeholders Interactive Forum.

“There are two things I discussed with Mr. President that I will be focusing on in this second term as Minister, and they are maritime security and the Single Window project.

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“I have assured the government that by the end of 2020, we should have the Single Window at our Maritime sector.

“Just yesterday, we got approval to complete the $5.3billion Ibadan to Kano rail project. We have also applied for funding to commence coastal rail for the Port-Harcourt to Warri segment,” he said.

Amaechi also revealed that the Minister of Transportation, State, Gbemisola Saraki will personally be in charge of all maritime agencies while he will be focusing on the Railway sector.

“In my first term as Minister, I completely abandoned the maritime sector to the Heads of agencies.

“This term around, that won’t be happening again as I have instructed that the Honourable Minister of Transportation for State should personally supervise the maritime agencies, while I just oversight what is happening.

Amaechi, speaking further on maritime security said he has complained to the Israeli firm, HSLI that “they are too slow.”

He added that the firm should have launched by now, and that the aspect of security on maritime space is his top priority.

Completing Lagos-Kano Railway Project Will Cost N4trillion – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi says about N4 trillion is required to complete the Lagos to Kano standard gauge rail project.

Amaechi said this on Thursday while addressing journalists in Kaduna State.

According to him, this is the reason why the project has been moving at a slow pace because the huge amount of money is required to finance its speedy completion.

“Doing Lagos-Kano, we are looking for about N3trillion and N4trillion. Is that a money you get easily? The budget is between N7trillion to N8trillion, if we give only Lagos-Kano the sum of N4trillion then we will be giving half of the budget and we won’t be able to pay salaries.

“So it is a gradual process, that’s why we want to rehabilitate the narrow gauge so that while we are slowly constructing the standard gauge, things will be running on the narrow gauge,” he said.

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Amaechi added that the project when completed, will boost socio-economic activities in the country.

He also disclosed that the Federal Government is rehabilitating the narrow gauge rail lines to enable the trains shuttle between the south to the northern part of the country pending the completion of the standard gauge.

Amaechi Denies Ownership Of Funds Recovered In Ikoyi

Amaechi Denies Ownership Of Funds Recovered In IkoyiAs the controversy over who owns the huge sum of money uncovered in a luxury apartment in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State continues, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has denied any connection to the cash.

In a statement issued from his media office on Saturday, Mr Amaechi dismissed claims that the said funds recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) belonged to him.

He urged Nigerians to disregard such claims, noting that he does not know who owns the money or the apartment where it was found.

“For clarity and emphasis, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is not the owner of the $43 million and the Ikoyi apartment in which the money was recovered from.

“Amaechi has no business, link or connection to the money or property. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi does not know who owns the money or Ikoyi apartment,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Governor Nyesom Wike said the recovered money belongs to the Rivers State government, and asked the Federal Government to return the funds.

The EFCC recovered 43 million Dollars, 23 million Naira, and 27,000 Pounds on Wednesday, April 12, following a tip-off by a whistle-blower regarding some suspicious movement of bags in and out of an apartment in Ikoyi.

The discovery came days after the anti-graft announced the recovery of 547,730 Euros; 21,090 Dollars and 5,648,500 Naira from a Bureau de Change operator in Balogun Market, Lagos.

Consequently, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered that the funds be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Justice Muslim Hassan gave till May 5, 2017 for any interested party in the funds to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

How Nigeria Plans To Revive Its Railway Sector

Railway, Nigeria, The transport sector in Nigeria will soon be witnessing increased activities in the railways, following renewed collaboration between the federal government and foreign partners.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that negotiations were at advanced stage with General Electric, an American multinational conglomerate and the China Exim Bank on the revival of the rail system.

Mr Amaechi told reporters shortly after he visited the dry inland port in Jos, the Plateau State capital, that work would commence on the narrow and standard rail line gauge across Nigeria as soon as the negotiations were concluded.

Rotimi Amaechi, Transport, Energy
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

The minister, who was at the Heipang Inland Container Depot to inspect its facilities, was accompanied by officials of the Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Shippers Council, members of the Plateau State Executive Council as well as the concessionaire of the port.

Having inspected the site which borders the Yakubu Gowon Airport and a railway station, Mr Amaechi stressed the need to develop facilities in the inland dry ports on a tripartite arrangement involving the Federal Government, the host state government and the private investor.

Simon Lalong, Plateau State, Plateau, amnesty, Arms Proliferation
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong

In his response, Governor Simon Lalong assured the minister that Plateau State would contribute its part in the development and implementation of the project, with assurance that the project would receive urgent attention by his administration.

The Chairman, Plateau Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Bulus Daren, highlighted some of the advantages of the development.

He expressed optimism that apart from decongesting the seaports, the inland dry port would bring shipping services to the door steps of shippers across Nigeria, as well as assist in the overall costs of cargo to hinterland locations.

It is speculated that the Nigerian Shippers Council has been promoting and facilitating the establishment of inland container depots on the basis of public-private partnership with six approved locations in Aba, Ibadan, Jos, Kano, Funtua and Maiduguri to service the Nigerian populace.

Rehabilitation Of Kaduna Airport Begins

kaduna-airportWork has resumed at the new terminal building of the Kaduna Airport, that would serve as an alternative for both local and international passengers.

This is ahead of the closure of the Abuja international airport for six weeks, starting from March 8, 2017.

Repairs are also being effected to the road linking the Kaduna airport to the city.

On Thursday, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

Sirika, explained that it would be unsafe to continue to operate in the Abuja Airport, as there have been daily incidents on the runway.

The runway in the airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which has since been exceeded.

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before Senate

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before SenateThe Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi have appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja.

The Senate invited both ministers on Tuesday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.

Lawmakers are opposing the closure of the airport which they say would bring hardship on local and international travellers.

The Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika, explained that to continue to operate, the Abuja airport will be unsafe and unreasonable as there are daily incidents on the runway.

Captain Sirika said that every flight plan always have alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternate for Abuja airport.

He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.

The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.

Transportation, Aviation Ministers Appear Before Senate

Transportation, Aviation Ministers Appear Before Senate The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, have appeared before the Senate on Thursday, to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Senate invited both ministers on Thursday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.

According to the lawmakers, closing the airport would bring hardship on local and international travelers.

Mr Sirika, however explained that it would be unsafe to continue to operate in the Abuja Airport, as there have been daily incidents on the runway.

Furthermore, the former pilot, stated that every flight plan always had alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternative for the Abuja airport.

He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.

The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.

Nigeria Urges Africa To Collectively Tackle Climate Challenges

Nigeria, Africa, AfricaNigeria has called on African countries to act in a collective and collaborative manner to tackle climate related challenges bedevilling the continent.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, made the call on Friday in Abuja during a meeting of the Council of Ministers in charge of National Meteorological Services in ECOWAS member countries.

Mr Amaechi described Africa as one of the most vulnerable continents to the impact of global warming and climate change.

Increasing Poverty

He believes that drought and desertification were responsible for forced trans-boundary migration of persons and increased security challenges in Africa.

The Minister added that the consequences of climate related challenges were impacting negatively on agriculture and increasing poverty in the continent.

The Chairman of the Council, Bushuben Keita, encouraged the ECOWAS member states to improve their climate monitoring capacity.

A representative of the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation, Bennard Gomez, also advised the member states not to ignore the current climate challenge.

The meeting continued behind closed doors and it is expected to adopt the ECOWAS Meteorological Programme.

The fundamental objective of the programme is to improve the quality of meteorological services in member countries, so as to reduce the risks associated with extreme weather conditions.

FG To Make Transport Sector Public-Private Partnership – Ameachi

Rotimi Amaechi, Transport, EnergyThe Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Ameachi, says the Nigerian Government will shift the transport sector from full government ownership and management to public-private partnership.

The Minister made the disclosure on Monday during a public hearing on the Nigerian Railway Authority Bill and the National Transport Commission Bill at the House of Representatives.

Leading officials from the Transportation Ministry, he said that Nigeria needed $166 billion over the next five years to meet its infrastructural needs in the energy and transport sectors.

The Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport, Honourable Aminu Isa, stressed that the hearing on the two bills would help to enact and establish the Acts.

Representing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the Chief Whip of the House, Honourable Ado Dogowa, praised the efforts of the Federal Government in the transport sector.

The public hearing is expected to guide the committee and serve as a means of gathering the views of Nigerians on the bills before it is passed into law.

The two bills are meant to help Nigeria’s transport sector and put in place, legal framework to enhance public-private partnership in the sector.

Supplementary Budget: Senate Asks Executive To Include Lagos-Calabar Rail Project

Nigerian-SenateThe Senate is asking the executive to include the disputed Lagos Calabar Rail project in a supplementary budget and forward it to the National Assembly.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Senate Spokesman Aliyu Abubakar said the Senate is ready and willing to consider a supplementary budget from the executive which would include the rail project.

There’s been a back and forth between the executive and the National Assembly over allegations that a 60 billion naira Lagos Calabar Rail Project was removed from the 2016 Budget.

The Ministry of Budget And Planning had come out with its position on the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget.

The ministry in a statement said the President is yet to take a position on the budget after receiving details from the National Assembly on April 7.

On the controversial Calabar-Lagos rail project, the ministry confirmed that there were indeed some errors in the initial budget proposal sent to the National Assembly by the President in December.

The statement, however, added that the errors were corrected, submitted and subsequently accepted by the relevant committees of the National Assembly.

The statement read in part, “It must be emphasized that the two rail projects are part of those for which the President is currently negotiating funding with the Chinese government.

“The 60 billion Naira provided in the budget for the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos rail lines, respectively, is counterpart funding, to support the Chinese financing for the projects.

“These projects are part of the strategic implementation plan of the government which was disclosed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning at The National Economic Council retreat in March 2016, in the presence of state governors.”

The statement added that it was the corrected version that was defended by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his team.

Rivers Rerun: PDP Sues Amaechi, INEC

Rivers Rerun: PDP Sues Amaechi, INEC, Army OfficersThe PDP in Rivers State has dragged the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, the INEC and some personnel of the Nigerian Army to court for the deployment of soldiers during the rerun in the state.

The Nigerian Army personnel include: the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and the Commander, 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army.

The Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kingsley Chuku, made the disclosure to Channels Television in Rivers State, southern Nigeria.

Mr Chuku said that the suit, which was filed on Tuesday before a State High Court in Port Harcourt became necessary after an earlier order granted by the same court on March 15, 2016 was disobeyed.

He insisted that Justice George Omereji had in his ruling, restrained the parties from aiding the use of soldiers in the Rivers rerun election.

According to the legal practitioner, committal proceedings against the defendants seek to commit them to prison for disobeying court order.

The court has fixed April 14 to commence hearing of the committal proceedings by the PDP in Rivers State.

Both the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have traded words over the parliamentary rerun polls which ended in violence in the oil-rich state.