Former Senate President, Iyorcha Ayu has condemned the plans by the federal government to embark on a railway project linking the country with Niger Republic.
Ayu, a Senate President in the Third Republic faulted the plans by the government to spend such huge amount of money on the Kano-Niger Republic railway project and rather charged the federal government to deploy the money to construction and repair of roads within Nigeria.
He stated this on Monday in Benue during the inauguration of the reconstructed Ahmadu Bello Way by Governor Samuel Ortom in the Gboko area of the state.
Ayu said, “I call on our National Assembly members to tell the President to fix our roads. It is wrong for the Buhari administration to construct rail line from Kano to Niger Republic.”
“The money should be channelled to repair of roads in the State. We do not need a rail line to Niger. The allied forces have ganged up against you but do not be distracted. As long as you are doing what the people want and defending us, no one will do anything to you.”
Naija News recalls the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had told State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, 23rd September that the sum of $1.96 billion has been approved for the construction of the 248-kilometre railway line from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic.
According to him, the $1.96 billion construction cost includes 7.5% value added tax (VAT).
Later, presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu while reacting to the controversy generated by the news, explained that the federal government of Nigeria will not construct a rail line into Niger Republic, but will end at the border town linking the two countries, where the other country is also expected to continue the project.
However, the explanation doesn’t seem to sit well with many Nigerians who still see the project as a misplaced priority and have been calling for a reversal of the approval.
Adding his voice to the dissenting voices against the project, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State also questioned the benefit the rail project will bring to Nigeria and urged that the money be spent on other things.
He said, “I condemn the Federal government construction of rail line to Niger Republic. This fund can be used to reconstruct rail lines especially Makurdi-Kaduna, Port Harcourt-Makurdi and Lagos-Makurdi in the country. Of what benefit will the rail line to Niger do to us?”
Source: Naija News