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.

READ ALSO: Fuel Price: I Have No Intention Of Inflicting Hardship On Nigerians, Says Buhari

“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.

Amaechi, Akpabio, Four Others ‘Take A Bow’ As Senate Screens Ministerial Nominees

 

Six ministerial nominees have enjoyed the ‘take a bow’ privilege at the screening by the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday, forwarded the names of 43 nominees to constitute his cabinet to the senate, eight weeks after he was sworn in for a second term.

According to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, the decision was in line with the long-standing tradition of the legislature that all former lawmakers nominated for appointments are given an automatic endorsement.

The ministers-nominees who enjoyed the privilege include; Godswill Akpabio,  Olorunnimbe Mamora, George Akume, Sharon Ikeazor, Emeka Nwajuiba, a serving Reps member and surprisingly, Rotimi Amaechi, a former minister of Transportation.

Unlike other nominees who were former federal lawmakers, Mr Amaechi was former speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

READ ALSO: LIVE UPDATES: Screening Of Ministerial Nominees By The Senate

Ministerial Screening: George Akume Asked To Take A Bow

The National Assembly’s Point of Order makes room for Senators returning based on the number of times elected, senators who have been members of House of Reps, Senators elected for the first time but does not recognize State House of Assembly.

But Senate President Lawan described the benefit given to Mr Amaechi as an extension to lawmakers from the state House of Assembly, and a beneficiary by chance.

“We have agreed on a policy on how we go about the screening of nominees, we agreed that any nominee with the legislative background will enjoy the privilege that we normally extend to such nominees.

“I can see this nominee is so clever that he emphasized that he’s been a speaker.”

However, Senator Danjuma Goje, representing Gombe Central read the senate rule and objected to the privilege and noted that the Senate rules do not extend the ‘take a bow’ to state lawmakers.

“I was a victim, when I came to this senate in 2011 as a former member of the House of Assembly and when I insisted that I had the cognate experience, I was told the order does not recognise House of Assembly, I don’t know whether we are changing these rules.”

Senator Lawan agreed that the privilege to state lawmakers is not in the rules, but asked the upper chamber to regulate themselves, even without things in the rule.

“We adopt this because we should extend this privilege to the House of Assembly, there is nothing wrong in that. The present nominee is only a beneficiary by chance.”

There was a brief rowdiness at plenary, but the Senate President explained that they are not doing it for Mr Amaechi, but he is benefitting because the senate said so before he came.

“Any person who passed through a legislative house should be a beneficiary of this policy,” he stated.

Aside from the six who took a bow, the senate screened a total of 10 ministerial nominees out of the 43.

They include; Uchechukwu Ogah, Adamu Adamu, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, and Olamilekan Adegbite.

Mr Lawan described the performance of all the nominees who appeared before the Senate as “impressive”.

He also announced that the exercise will continue on Thursday and listed those to be screened to include Sen. Tayo Alasoadura, Mustapha Shehuri, Retired Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, Niyi Adebayo and Timipre Slyva.

Also to be screened on Thursday are Mrs Ramatu Tijjani, Mohammed Abdullahi, and Sunday Dare.

Buhari’s First Term: I Will Consider Myself A Huge Success – Amaechi

 

The former Minister of transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi says he considers himself a huge success in the first term of President Muhammadu Buharis administration.

During an interview on Channels Television in Abuja, Amaechi said his re-appointment as a minister for another term is at the discretion of the President.

I have to be the President, I am not the President. The President will decide those who will come back. So its between God and the President. I dont know.

I am not in a position to access my performance. (I consider myself) a huge success. What are the promises the President made? He promised security. At that time, the problem was Boko Haram. To a great extent, Boko Haram has been decimated, he stated.

Ameachi explained that the Lagos-Ibadan railway will solve the constant gridlock on the Apapa road in Lagos.

According to him, before the traffic would be addressed, the Ibadan-Kano should be handled with goods cleared first before the decongestion can take place.

My fear is that if we dont continue from Ibadan to Kano, then we are leaving the problem at Ibadan.

We have applied for a loan facility from China. Once we get that, we will continue with the construction from Ibadan to Kano. And once we do that, you will see that the goods will be dissipating.

We transport nearly about 30 million tonnes of cargo per year from that Apapa to Kano. As we are transporting it, only 200 tonnes go by rail, he stated.

Rivers Politics: There Is ‘No War’ Between Wike And I – Amaechi

 

Former Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi has declared that there is ‘no war’ going on between him and incumbent Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Amaechi, who is a serving Minister of Transportation, made the clarification during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

He explained that what is going on between both politicians are borne out of Wike’s decision to run a second term as Governor of the state.

“There is no war going on between Governor Wike and I. What is going on between us is the fact that he wants to run a second term.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Needs About $45billion To Solve The Problem Of Transportation, Says Amaechi

The minister added that the Governor is responsible for the lives in the state and his inability to do so raises concerns.

“He is the governor of Rivers state, he has to protect lives. The moment you can’t protect lives, you must take those responsibilities.

“When I was governor of the state, for every death, I challenged the Director of SSS; I must know who killed the people and they must be arrested.”

Nigeria Needs About $45billion To Solve The Problem Of Transportation, Says Amaechi

Nigeria’s minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says the rail infrastructure is a capital intensive sector and Nigeria needs about $45billion to solve the nation’s “problem of transportation to a great extent.”

Amaechi, on Tuesday, in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, explained how much has been spent so far on rail infrastructure in Nigeria.

He said further that because the sector is capital intensive, huge funds will be needed to construct more railroads and acquire more coaches.

The minister agrees that acquiring more coaches will reduce overstretching the current coaches operating in railways in the country.

“It is capital intensive. N1trillion is about $2.7billion and that is just about 200kilometres of the railway. So if you plan to do Lagos-Ibadan and you are looking at about $8.7billion – this will be between N3trillion and N4trillion. How much is the budget of the country?

“That is why I said we need about $35 to $45 billion to be able to do Lagos-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Lagos-Calabar, and Abuja-Warri. Once you do these four tracks, you have covered the country, and you have solved the problem of transportation to a great extent,” he said.

READ ALSO: 2019 General Elections: The Army Staged A Coup Against Rivers State – Wike

The minister also gave a breakdown of the expenses inquired so far on rail construction, most especially on the Lagos-Ibadan railroad.

He disclosed that the Federal Government is making efforts to acquire coaches and locomotives for the Lagos-Ibadan railroad.

“Lagos-Ibadan Railroad will cost about $1.6billion. This does not include the extra cost of things we did not prepare for. The Kaduna-Abuja construction will cost about $1billion.

“We have paid about $500milllion to buy locomotives for Lagos-Ibadan. So that’s what we’ve so far spent,” he said.

Amaechi, who is also the former governor of Rivers State said he is not at war with the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.

He said he is only inconvenient with the level of insecurity in the state.

“There is no war going on between Wike and I. It is like my friend Akpabio when we met the other day, I said it, we are not quarreling.

“What is going on between Wike and me is the fact that he wants to run a second term. The fact is that he ran the first term in which people were killed. Today, he is accusing the army and not the police because they refused the take bribe from him.”

The former governor boasted that during his administration as Rivers State governor, he investigated every death and ensured the arrest of the perpetrators.

Amaechi, Akpabio Settle ‘Political Differences’

Amaechi, Akpabio Settle 'Political Differences'

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, and former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, have settled the perceived political differences between them.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Festus Keyamo, disclosed this in a statement sent to Channels Television on Monday.

According to him, both leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ironed out their differences when they met on April 14.

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“The meeting, which was at the instance of Senator Godwill Akpabio, was brokered by two chieftains of the party, Alhaji Nasiru Danu, (the Dan Amarna of Dutse) and Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN,” the spokesman for the APC Presidential Campaign Council said.

He added, “Alhaji Danu, was one of the Directors of Logistics of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and a long-time ally of President Muhammadu Buhari while Mr Keyamo was the Director of Strategic Communications of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.”

 

The SAN explained that the meeting which lasted several hours took place at the private residence of Mr Danu in the Asokoro region of Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He disclosed that the former governors “frankly and honestly” talked about their disagreements from their days as governors while they were both in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Keyamo added that Amaechi and Akpabio discussed and analysed the performance of the APC in the South-South region in the just-concluded elections and identified areas where things went wrong and how to improve those areas in future.

“At the end, both leaders agreed to close ranks and work in unison for the overall interest of the party in the country,” he said.

“They promised to put behind them all previously perceived misgivings between them and to give a positive direction to the teeming supporters of the party across the country.”

Wike Asks Amaechi, APC To Join Him In Moving Rivers Forward

Wike Asks Amaechi, APC To Join Him In Moving Rivers Forward

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to join him in building the state.

He made the appeal on Thursday after the Supreme Court struck out the appeals of the APC on the just concluded elections in Rivers.

The APC had asked the apex court to reverse itself on the exclusion of the party from the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.

But a seven-man panel of judges led by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Mohammed, struck out the appeals for being incompetent.


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Reacting to the judgement in a broadcast, Governor Wike said all legal issues regarding the fielding of candidates by the APC for the elections in Rivers have finally and permanently been put to rest.

He noted that with the judgement of the apex court, the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates in the polls was legally safe, secured and protected.

The governor praised the opposition for their courage to fight within the confines of the law to the end.

He reminded them that the task of building the state must take precedence over all other considerations, now that the legal battle was over.

Governor Wike believes the leaders are better of standing and working together for Rivers and its people.

He, therefore, appealed to Amaechi and the APC to join hands with his government to move the state forward, adding that being divided would not mean well for the people.

The governor further urged the people of Rivers to shun all acts of violence and promised to ensure the unity and peaceful co-existence of all residents, irrespective of their political and religious differences.

Read the full text of the governor’s broadcast below:

My dear people of Rivers State,

It is with profound gratitude to God Almighty that I address you today, Thursday, April 11, 2017.

A few hours ago, the Supreme Court of Nigeria struck out the consolidated appeals of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Tonye Cole for lacking in merits.

With this decision, all legal issues regarding the fielding of candidates by the APC for the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Rivers State have finally and permanently been put to rest.

What this further means is that the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates in the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections is legally safe, secured and protected.

I wish to assure you that there is nothing else to fear or be worried about, as there is nothing more the APC or any other person can do to deny us the victory you freely gave to the PDP and its candidates.

Let me again thank God Almighty for His grace and the serial victories since we began this journey to secure your mandate for a second tenure.

Let me also express my deepest gratitude to the people of Rivers State for the opportunity to serve you as your Governor for another four years.  I am truly humbled by your continued trust and, I will not take this support for granted.

For me, the collective interest of the people of Rivers State is the reason I am in politics. When you gave me the mandate about four years ago, I committed myself to be the Governor for all the people of Rivers State and stayed through to that commitment.

Today, I recommit myself to be the Governor for all the people of Rivers State for the next four years. Accordingly, we shall form an all-inclusive government to advance the collective interest of all our people, irrespective of party, ethnic or religious affiliations.

We have come a long way in the last four years and accomplished a lot to be proud of. But there’s still a lot more to do to advance and realize the ultimate vision of our founding fathers for a truly united, secure, and prosperous State and we need the support of all our people to realize this bold vision.

We salute the opposition for their courage to fight within the confines of the law to the end. Now that the legal battle is over, the task of building the State must take precedence over all other considerations.

Although the present politics of acrimony and bitterness may have strayed from the noble path of the past, I still believe that we shall be better of standing and working together for our State and our people.

I, therefore, appeal to the APC and the Minister of Transportation to join hands with us to move our dear State forward. We cannot as leaders continue to remain divided and expect the Government to deliver on its responsibilities to our people. Let us from henceforth seek the common ground instead of allowing our differences to be exploited to retard our march to progress.

I appeal to our people to eschew all acts of acrimony, criminality, unrest, and violence throughout the State. I wish to recommit myself to continue to do all that is humanly possible to ensure the unity and peaceful co-existence of all our people irrespective of political affiliation.

Accordingly, I hereby direct the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to review all pending criminal proceedings filed against any person by the State and directly related to political activities prior to the 2019 general elections and make appropriate recommendations to me for necessary action to promote reconciliation among us.

Finally, I assure all our people of our commitment to our responsibilities with a heart full of gratitude.

Thank you.

God bless Rivers State and our nation, Nigeria.

‘I’ve Been Betrayed Serially’: Amaechi Vows To Battle Wike To The Last

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has vowed that himself as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC), will battle the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to the last during the general elections on Saturday, February 16.

He said this on Tuesday during President Buhari’s campaign rally in the state, while explaining that he has been betrayed severally by people who had once appeared to be loyal to him.

“In 2015, the army tried to arrest me as a sitting governor.

“You have a governor who is busy lobbying us, negotiating with us (let us give you presidency, you will give me governor). He is afraid, is he not? We will battle him to the last.

“80 per cent of those who have made a success in Rivers State, passed through me.

“Wike was my Chief of Staff, I made him Chairman of Council, I inaugurated him as a minister but when he saw Goodluck, he betrayed me.

“I have been betrayed serially… including senators. After you finish helping them, after praying for them, they will go and betray you for a pot of porridge. Saturday is our day.”


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Speaking further, Amaechi alleged that several members of the APC get killed on a daily basis and the PDP secured a court judgement in order to prevent the state from choosing leaders who would protect them.

He said, “You know, they used Federal and state institutions against us, they kill our people (APC) every day, cut off their necks every day.

“The right to choose our leaders to stop the killing, they got a state High Court judge to give judgement.”

He, however, said whatever the PDP in the state wants, the APC is up to the task.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today, struck out an appeal filed by the APC challenging the judgment of a High Court in Port Harcourt which barred the party from conducting any primaries in the state to nominate candidates to represent the party in the forthcoming elections.

The judgement means that the party is excluded from National Assembly, governorship and state assembly elections in the state.

Reacting to the development, President Buhari said, “I am very, very disturbed by the decision that we are not allowed to participate in some of the processes”.

If PDP Comes To Power, Our Economy Will Crash Again – Amaechi

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

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says the nation’s economy will crash again if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is voted back into power.

He made the claim on Sunday while addressing a crowd of supporters at the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State.

Amaechi called on the residents of the state to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking re-election in the coming polls.

“What is critical is that all of us must go out to vote and vote President Buhari because if PDP comes back to power, our economy will crash again,” he stated.

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The minister, who doubles as the Director-General of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, asked the PDP to stop spreading what he described as “lies”.

He accused the main opposition party of being responsible for the hunger in the land, alleging that the PDP looted the nation’s treasury.

“We are hungry because PDP stole all our money and the economy crashed under PDP. Naira began to rise rapidly or fall rather against the Dollar under the PDP government,” Amaechi claimed.

“(Former President Olusegun) Obasanjo leftover $58bn in the Excess Crude Account. By the time PDP was handing over, they were handing over only $2.5bn to President Muhammadu Buhari.”

On infrastructure, the Minister revealed that President Buhari had approved the construction of the railway connecting Katsina to Gusau, as well as Sokoto to Kebbi states.

According to him, the project would provide at least 300,000 jobs for the people.

Amaechi also informed the gathering that the current administration has succeeded in banning the importation of foodstuffs like rice and chicken among others, thereby saving billions of naira in the process.

He called on Nigerians to vote for the President in the coming elections, to enable him to continue the work he has started.

Rivers Revokes Sale Of State Assets By Previous Govt

 

The Rivers State Government has cancelled the sale of assets allegedly carried out by the previous administration.

According to the state Commissioner of Information, Mr Emma Okah, Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration has taken legal means to effect the decision.

The state would also revoke all contracts with the companies involved in the sale of the assets.

Okah made this known on Friday after a meeting of the State Executive Council at the Government House, in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The commissioner explained that the decisions were part of the recommendations of the White Paper on the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the sale of Valued Assets of Rivers State and other related matters under the chairmanship of Justice George Omereji.

The panel investigated the sale of some critical state assets by the previous administration of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi who is now the Minister of Transportation.

The state government, therefore, directed its Honourable Attorney General to take further steps as contained in the White Paper.

Reps Summon Amaechi Over Corruption Allegations

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport has summoned the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.

Chairman of the committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, disclosed this to Channels Television in an exclusive interview after plenary on Thursday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He explained that the minister was summoned to appear before the committee over allegations of corruption and breach of process.

Reps Summon Amaechi Over Corruption Allegations
Mr Rotimi Amaechi (file)

Mr Jibrin revealed that the committee has received a lot of allegations from credible sources against the minister and wants to investigate the issues raised.

According to him, the lawmakers after a meeting of the committee believe that Nigerians should know about so much of the things being done behind the scenes.

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.

READ ALSO: NEMA DG Replies Reps, Denies Allegations Of N33billion Funds Mismanagement

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.