President Muhammadu Buhari has given the go ahead that all the 36 state capitals should be connected with rail in the ongoing railway projects, an official said.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr, Chibuike Amaechi, reiterated this on Thursday at the meeting with the Chairman Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Sen. Shehu Sani, NAN reports.
The meeting – also attended by the Ministers of Finance; Budget and National Planning; and Power, Works and Housing – was in connection with President Buhari’s loan request of 5.5 billion dollars.
In September, the minister had said: “The President called two of us, myself and my colleague in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; and told me specifically that I must ensure that the 36 states including Abuja are connected by rail”.
However, yesterday, Amaechi said that the central rail line project connecting several communities of northern and southern Nigeria would be completed in June, next year.
He added that 17 coaches are expected to arrive in November and out of the number, 10 will be deployed to Abuja-Kaduna rail line while the remaining seven will be deployed to the Itakpe-Warri rail line.
Amaechi said that part of the money being requested now for approval by the senate was to execute the rail projects covering Kano-Kaduna, and Lagos-Ibadan networks.
Sani had earlier advised if Nigeria “must borrow, it must borrow responsibly”.
His words: “the committee has the mandate to examine the merits and otherwise of the current loan request of 5.5 billion dollars of the president.
“If we must bequeath to the future generation a pile of debt, it must be justified with commensurate infrastructural proof of the value of the debt.
“The payment plan of this debt will undoubtedly last the length of our lifetimes and possibly beyond.
“We must leave behind a legacy that will appease and answer the questions the next generation of Nigerians will ask.”