The former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s administration is seeking a $11-billion loan to construct the Lagos-Calabar railway.
The Transport Minister also charged the people from the South to work with the government to enable them foster growth in the region.
Amaechi made this call in a statement released to newsmen on Monday during an interactive session with the South East, South South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) in Lagos State.
The SESSPN invited the Minister to address some concerns of the people, which included security, power, economic and social integration and representation in government.
Amaechi said, “We fight a lot among ourselves. In South South and South East, we fight amongst ourselves. I’m saying this so that we can separate emotions from reality.”
“Today, it is not about President Muhammadu Buhari. It is about us. This administration is doing a lot, but because it is President Buhari, we pretend not to see it.”
“We complain about lopsided appointments. Apart from the area of security, have you checked other areas side by side?”
“The President will appoint someone from the South East, and people from the same region will fight against the appointment, if you are the President, how will you feel?”
“When we took office, the President asked us to complete all projects left by previous administrations before starting new ones. We did that and it was across all regions.”
“We completed Port Harcourt Airport, we are working on Enugu Airport; Enugu-Onitsha road, work is going on, no matter how slow.”
“The second Niger Bridge in Onitsha is 48 per cent completed, and we have assured the country that by 2022 it will be completed.”
On rail projects, Amaechi said “What informs my decision of choosing which rail line to construct at any point in time, is the economics of the project.”
“And currently, the economics show that Lagos to Kano has the capacity to move 30 million tonnes of cargo per year. I do the same analysis for Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, 11 million tonnes. We are currently doing the analysis for Lagos to Calabar to know how many tonnes of cargo can be moved there per year. So we started with the Lagos to Kano rail.”
“President Olusegun Obasanjo approved it, President Goodluck Jonathan started the construction by doing Abuja to Kaduna, and President Buhari told us to complete all previous projects.”
“Now, we are applying for a US$11-billion loan to construct Lagos to Calabar rail. There was no design for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri.
We knew that the first thing to do was to commence a feasibility study, after that we did the design.”