Nigeria’s Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the country has already commenced repayment of loans gotten from China for the construction of railways.
In an interview on Arise News on Monday, Amaechi said Nigeria has moved from the N70 million revenue target for the Abuja to Kaduna rail line to N350 million as of May 2020.
According to the minister, once the operational costs are taken away, “we have started paying back the loans”.
Speaking further, Amaechi said the Nigerian government is resolute that capital punishment is meted out to railway track vandals in the country.
He added that the laws should be amended to ensure people caught in the act are tried for manslaughter.
The minister noted that the police must also up their game and ensure people who buy those vandalised rail tracks are punished.
On the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman as the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Amaechi denied his involvement in the saga.
Amaechi denied knowledge of Usman’s suspension, saying she was only asked to “step aside” pending the conclusion of the probe on NPA.
He said: “I am not aware that I suspended Hadiza, I’m not the president. So I don’t have such power. That power rests with the president.
“I am not aware that Hadiza was suspended. What happened, I suspect, is that she was asked to step aside to enable investigation to be carried out on NPA, not on her.
“We are investigating NPA. At the conclusion of the investigation, all the reports will be forwarded to the president who would make a determination on the way forward.”
Amaechi added that he is not sure when the panel will conclude its ongoing probe on NPA.
The minister also accused the media of creating “too much noise” on the suspension of the NPA MD.
“The panel is not headed between the ministry of transport and office of the head of service. The office of the head of service contributed six persons including auditors and accountants, and the ministry of transport just brought five,” he said.
“So it is a panel of 11 that has been instituted to investigate activities of NPA from 2016 till the present day.
“It is NPA that is under investigation. The managing director has just been asked to step aside pending the conclusion of the investigation. And when the investigation is concluded, the president will make a determination and decide what happens next.”