Amaechi Meets Contractors, Inspects Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi during an inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is currently on a monthly inspection tour of the 156km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.

The train departed the Iddo station before midday with the minister and top management staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) stopping at various stations along the project line to get updates from the contractors on the quality and progress report of the construction work.

The rail tracks for the 156km rail project have been completed but the stations are still under construction.

Trading along the rail tracks still seem to be a challenge as observed at Agege and Oshodi stations where traders are seen in clusters close to the rail line.

Traders at the Lagos-Ibadan rail line on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

 

The Lagos-Ibadan railway, one of the major projects embarked on by the Federal Government, is being handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi during an inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Buni Reconciles Amaechi, Sylva

APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, poses for a photograph with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

 

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, has reconciled the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

Amaechi and Sylva, who have both disagreed for a long time, were seen together walking shoulder to shoulder in public as a result of Governor Buni’s effort.

The former governors were reconciled at a closed-door meeting with the governors on Monday at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.

During the meeting, Governor Buni urged the ministers to further reconcile aggrieved party members in the South-South ahead of the governorship election in Edo State.

According to a statement by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, the reconciliation will help not just in Edo State, but also the forthcoming governorship poll in Ondo State.

Read Full Statement Below:

Governor Buni-led APC Caretaker Committee Tasks Amaechi, Sylva on Party’s Reconciliation, Repositioning Efforts

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni on Monday met with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva at the Party’s National Secretariat.

At the meeting which was held behind closed doors, Governor Mai Mala Buni charged the ministers to work together and lead the Party’s efforts to reconcile aggrieved party members and reposition the Party, particularly in the South-South region.

Ahead of the Governorship elections in Niger Delta states of Edo and Ondo as well as legislative By-Elections in Bayelsa and Cross River states, Governor Mai Mala Buni charged the Ministers to play lead roles in bringing together party members and stakeholders to ensure that the APC is victorious.

“We have agreed that both of us will work together”, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi told journalists while accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva after the meeting with Governor Mai Mala Buni.

This indeed is another solid milestone in the achievement of the mandate given to the Governor Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee to reconcile party members and reposition the party.

SIGNED:
Yekini Nabena
Deputy National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)

Amaechi, Reps In Heated Argument Over Chinese Loans

 

A heated argument ensued on Monday between the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Agreements and Protocols, Nicholas Ossai.

The committee is investigating the $500billion loan agreement between Nigeria and China for the Federal Government’s rail projects.

While the public hearing was ongoing, Amaechi said Nigeria was very unlikely to get the remaining loans from China because of the investigations being carried out by the House.

He accused the Committee of pursuing a political agenda, alleging that Ossai had approached him on the South-South Rail Project.

Following the increasing rise in Amaechi’s tone, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, stormed the venue of the hearing and called for a 30-minute break.

The minister was later discharged and asked to reappear before the lawmakers on Tuesday at 12 noon.

This is the second time the Minister would be summoned before the Committee over the foreign loan meant for railway projects.

On July 29, he appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

If PDP Comes To Power, Our Economy Will Crash Again – Amaechi
Mr Rotimi Amaechi (file)

 

Amaechi warned that the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

He also argued that constant probing or investigation may suggest that an arm of the government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.

Amaechi noted that while the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he begged them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.

Amaechi Appears Before Reps Over Chinese Loans

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

 

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

Speaking during the hearing in Abuja on Monday, Amaechi disagreed with the committee, saying he is unaware of a N33 billion contract by the Ministry of Transport but only a $1.6 billion contract.

He said the action of the committee is political.

The minister who appeared before the committee for a second time maintained his position that Nigeria is now very unlikely to get the remaining loans from China due to the investigations being carried out by the House.

According to him, the committee probe suggested that the different arms of government do no support the loan.

The committee is also interested in the number of Nigerians and Chinese involved in the Federal Government rail project.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

Amaechi’s comments come three weeks after he begged the lawmakers to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

He warned that the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

While noting the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he appealed to them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.

“The investigation being carried out by the National Assembly may frustrate the loan agreement between us and China on the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail project.

“We have the approval to construct the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines; we are also at the point of negotiating for the loans.”

“Summoning us to the National Assembly to come and address the loans would look like the government is no longer interested in the loan,” the minister said.

 

China Loans: Why I Told Reps Not To Probe Too Much – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi speaks on the controversial Chinese Loan during an interview on Politics Today on August 4, 2020.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has reacted to the controversy trailing the Federal Government’s planned securement of $500million loan from China.

The House of Representatives had raised an alarm over clauses in Article 8 (1) of the Commercial Loan Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China.

In the said agreement, Nigeria stands to concede her sovereignty to China should there be a default in the repayment of the $400million for the Nigerian National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone phase 2 project signed in 2018.

 

READ ALSO: Falana Calls For Probe Of Conditions In Nigeria’s $79bn Foreign Loans

The controversial clause in the agreement signed by the Federal Ministry of Finance on behalf of Nigeria and Chinese bank on September 5, 2018 provides:

“The borrower hereby irrevocably provides waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration pursuit to Article 85 thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award  pursuit thereto except for the military asset and diplomatic asset.”

But Amaechi, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, explained that he told the National Assembly members not to probe the loan issue too much in order not to scare the lender.

“The reason why I said that is because we have already applied for $5.3billion to execute the rail from Ibadan to Kano. We are about applying for about $3billion to execute the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

“Don’t forget the National Assembly approved that loan. It is unconstitutional and impeachable if you take a loan without the approval of the National Assembly. So the same National Assembly that approved the loan is now questioning the same loan and the terms of the loan having looked at it before.

“If I am the lender, I will be worried. If they get worried, they will say ‘No, we will not approve the remaining loans you have applied for,” he said.

Amaechi who described the loan as the cheapest so far, said the Chinese loan is a concessionary loans at 2.8 percent interest.

He explained that before meeting China, the Federal Government had already approached other countries who didn’t approve the request on the ground that they didn’t have money.

Minister Of Transportation Appeals To Reps To Stop Probe Of $500m Chinese Loan

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

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.

Amaechi made the appeal during an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Protocols on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “The investigation being carried out by the National Assembly may frustrate the loan agreement between us and China on the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail project.

“We have the approval to construct the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines; we are also at the point of negotiating for the loans.”

“Summoning us to the National Assembly to come and address the loans would look like the government is no longer interested in the loan,” the minister added.

According to him, the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.

He also argued that constant probing or investigation may suggest that an arm of the government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.

Amaechi noted that while the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he begged them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.

He said, “If tomorrow we are unable to construct Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway because we didn’t get the loan, it is because of the investigation by NASS.

“I told the National Assembly that they can investigate but they should allow us get the loan first; if they stop the work from Ibadan to Kano, it is because of the investigations, same with Lagos to Calabar railway.”

“If you think there is corruption, investigate corruption. What we are saying is that we should conclude negotiation first because there is pressure affecting the Chinese government in which they are talking to us directly. So, for me, what is primary here should be national interest,” the minister stated.

The lawmakers had raised an alarm over loan agreements being entered into by the Nigerian Government with China.

They warned that Nigeria would concede some of its sovereignty to the Asian nation should it default in the repayment plan.

The House had, however, stated that it would review loan facilities already taken by Nigeria from China and other countries.

I’m ‘Dead Scared’ Of COVID-19, Amaechi Says As He Outlines Railway Health Guidelines

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi addresses reporters on July 27, 2020.

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has warned Nigerians to always wear nose masks and have sanitisers.

Speaking during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Amaechi said he is “dead scared” as he knows people who have died from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister, who appeared at the regular PTF briefing for the first time, held up a sanitiser during his speech.

According to him, the Federal Government will ensure that travellers using the nation’s railway system must always use their face masks and hold their sanitisers as well.

Amaechi explained that he opened the railway from Abuja to Kaduna because of pressure for the Sallah holiday, stressing no masks, no boarding.

“If anybody has ever seen me in public without this (referring to the Santiser), let the person raise up his hand. The reason is that I have seen people die of COVID-19, so I am dead scared.

“If you ask the last speaker, I refused to agree that we should open the railways. It is the pressure of those who want to participate in the forthcoming spiritual activities that made me accept that we will open the railway from Abuja to Kaduna.

“We don’t want to see how handsome or beautiful you are. Please wear for me a face mask, not a mouth mask. If you wear a mouth mask, the train will stop and you will come down.”

Speaking further, the Minister explained that security has been beefed ahead of the Sallah celebrations in a few days’ time.

He, however, insisted that any traveller that wears a face shield without a face mask will be denied entry into the railway.

Buhari Names Train Stations After Tinubu, Fashola, Osinbajo

President Buhari participates at a Virtual Meeting of the Extraordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has named train stations along the Lagos-Ibadan and the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri corridors after “deserving Nigerians”, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

Presidency aide, Tolu Ogunlesi, revealed this on Monday in a tweet.

According to Ogunlesi, the Apapa station was named after Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while the Agege station was conferred on the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

Other personalities conferred with train station names include Lateef Jakande (Agbado station), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (Kajola station), and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Papalanto station).’

 

Earlier in June, the President had approved the naming of the Railway Complex in Agbor – the operational hub of the Itakpe-Warri line – after former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation, Buhari conferred the names on the “deserving citizens” because of their contribution to “the progress and development of their respective communities and the nation at large.”

 

Below is a full list of the Nigerians who were conferred with names of train stations:

 

The Lagos-Ibadan with extension to the Lagos Port Complex at Apapa railway station

Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Apapa station)

Mobolaji Johnson (Ebute Metta Station)

Babatunde Raji Fashola (Agege station)

Lateef Jakande (Agbado station)

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (Kajola station).

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Papalanto station)

Prof. Wole Soyinka (Abeokuta station)

Aremo Segun Osoba(Olodo station)

Chief Ladoka Akintola (Omio-Adio station)

Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Ibadan station)

Chief Alex Ekwueme (Operation Control Centre)

 

The Itakpe-Ajaokuta/Aladja-Warri Railway

Alhaji Adamu Attah (Itakpe station)

Dr. Olushola Saraki (Ajaokuta station)

Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (Itogbo station)

Brigadier General George Innih (Agenebode station)

Anthony Eromosele Enahoro (Uromi station)

Chief Tom Ikimi (Ekehen station)

Brig. Gen. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia (rtd) (Igbanke station)

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (Agbor Station Complex)

Brigadier General David Ejoor (Abraka station)

Micheal Ibru (Opara station)

Alfred Rewane (Ujevwu station)

Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe (Railway Village, Agbor)

China To Approve $5.3bn For Nigeria’s Railway Construction, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says China has been very helpful to Nigeria.

He stated this on Friday during a special broadcast which aired on Channels Television to mark the nation’s Democracy Day.

The Minister noted that the People Republic of China and the Chinese people have been very helpful to the Federal Government following the disbursement of cash to fun infrastructure, especially railway.

For instance, Amaechi said the Asian country released $1.6billion for the Lagos-Ibadan railway and is expected to approve $5.3billion by October.

“The Chinese government and the Chinese people have been very helpful to Nigeria. They have released $1.6billion for the Lagos-Ibadan.

“They have agreed to approve (and) we hope that by October, they should be able to approve the $5.3billion for the Federal Government of Nigeria so that we can commence and complete the construction of the Ibadan-Kano railway,” he said.

READ ALSO: APC Committee Disqualifies Obaseki, Others From Edo Primary Election

The Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway is an under-construction standard gauge railway across Nigeria, from the Atlantic Ocean port of Lagos to Kano, near the Niger border.

The railway will run parallel to the British-built Cape gauge line, which has a lower design capacity and is in a deteriorated condition.

The railway is being built in segments. Only the segment between Abuja and Kaduna has been completed so far, and services began officially in July 2016.

The 187 km segment is an important junction point on the existing Cape gauge railway network, where a branch line departs the Lagos–Nguru line for Kafanchan, on the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri Railway.

Buhari Hails Minister Of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi At 55

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent warm felicitations to Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, on his 55th birthday, commending his result-oriented leadership style, which positively reflects on people and projects he has supervised over the years.

The President joined the All Progressives Congress (APC), family and political associates of the former Governor of Rivers State in celebrating the milestone, while congratulating him for a meteoric political rise, underlined by his forthrightness, diligence and deep sense of loyalty and patriotism.

READ ALSO: SGF: We Have Identified Three Claims Of Local COVID-19 Cure For Further Investigation

As the Minister of Transportation turns 55, President Buhari believes his investments in the development of Rivers State, and current efforts in building infrastructure across the country will always be remembered by posterity, urging him to stay focused on the larger picture of working to improve lives.

The President also extols Amaechi for his willingness to make sacrifices and support the governing party, APC, recalling, with appreciation, the major role he played in the 2015 and 2019 Presidential Elections, and his continuous contributions to promote peace and unity of purpose.

President Buhari prays that the almighty God will position the Director General of his Presidential Campaigns for greater glory, and grant him more opportunities to serve the country and humanity.

How Coronavirus Outbreak Is Delaying Completion Of Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has explained how the Coronavirus outbreak is affecting the speedy completion of Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Amaechi disclosed this on Wednesday while addressing participants at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) consultative round table.

According to Amaechi, the project would have been completed in May but might not be feasible anymore because the contractors handling the project are employees of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

RELATED: Again, Amaechi Inspects Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line Says, ‘I’m Unhappy With Pace Of Work’

“Lagos-Ibadan would have been ready in May. Unfortunately, nearly all of them that went for the Chinese New Year were quarantined by their government. Their government said they cannot come back until they find a solution to the Coronavirus.

“It is only those who didn’t travel that are here and therefore the speed of the construction has reduced,” he said.

In November 2019, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi assured that the project would be delivered by April 2020.

He, however, took to his Twitter handle in January 2020 to lament the pace of work done by the contractors.

“Looking at the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport. We’ll, however, continue to work and redouble our efforts to complete the project and meet set targets. #LagosIbadanRail,” he tweeted in January 2020.

The Minister at the CBN roundtable also lamented that Nigerians have politicised noting that, “everybody wants a railway in his village without bothering to ask, what is the relevance of railway in my village?”

 

Coronavirus, A Global Risk?

The World Health Organization in February raised its global risk assessment of the new coronavirus to its highest level after the epidemic spread to sub-Saharan Africa and financial markets slumped.

The virus has proliferated around the globe emerging on every continent except Antarctica, prompting many governments and businesses to try to stop people from traveling or gathering in crowded places.

It has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 84,000 worldwide — the vast majority in China — since it emerged apparently from an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December.

The Nigerian government on March 9 confirmed the second case of coronavirus in the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said newly confirmed case was a contact of the index case and not an importation into the country.

FG Cannot Intervene In Ban Of Okada, Tricycles In Lagos – Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday, said the federal government does not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the recent ban of okada and tricycles in some parts of Lagos State.

The Lagos state government started to implement a ban on motorcycles, popularly known as okadas, and tricycles in major parts of the state on Saturday.

But the Minister, who was a guest on Sunrise Daily, said the matter was a state affair.

READ ALSO: Police Enforce Ban, Arrest ‘Okada’, Tricycle Riders In Lagos

“Implementation of transport policy is essentially a state affair,” he said. “So you can’t be telling a state whether they want ‘okada’ or tricycles or not. That’s not our responsibility. It is for the state government to decide what to do.”

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, appeared on Sunrise Daily on Monday, February 3, 2020.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, appeared on Sunrise Daily on Monday, February 3, 2020.

 

However, Amaechi, who is a former Governor of Rivers State, said he could see some reason why the state government made the decision.

“Speaking as a former Governor, when I was in Rivers State, they were using motorcycles to rob and kidnap people; and the police could never get them because they were using cars; so I banned motorcycles and we had peace. The number of accidents was also high – the orthopaedic hospital was full every day. 

READ ALSO: Why We Won’t Increase Abuja-Kaduna Rail Fares – Amaechi

“I don’t know the reason why the Governor of Lagos state banned it; only he can tell you. I am sure he made his decision based on the interests of a majority of Lagosians.

“But he has a problem to face, which is unemployment and increase in crime.”