|Lagos Calabar rail project controversy.|
The controversial Lagos-Calabar rail project has become somewhat of an embarrassment.I don't remember the last time that a budget has caused so much uproar and childlike errors.Fingers are being pointed from all directions and diverting blames left right and centre.Akpandem James, Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma has released a statement below to set some records straight.Read below....
In view of the recent controversies surrounding the 2016 budget, it has become necessary to state the following so as to set the facts straight:
The details of the 2016 budget were received by the President on Thursday, April 7, 2016.Immediately this was received the President, desirous of signing the document into law as
soon as possible, directed that copies should be made available to Heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
Ministers were asked to go through the details and give their reactions as it affects their respective Ministries so as to guide the President and enable him sign the Appropriation Bill into law.
That process is still on-going and no statement has been issued by the Executive on the matter, apart from the one by the Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohamnmed, to confirm that details of the budget are being examined. No final decision has been taken by the President and no other statement whatsoever has been issued on the matter.
With reference to the specific issue of the Calabar – Lagos rail project, we will like to state that the two railway projects, Lagos – Kano and the Calabar – Lagos, are very important projects of the present administration; and it was always the intention of the Executive to have both projects reflected in the budget submitted to the National Assembly.
However, it will be recalled that the Budget Office made a number of errors in the initial proposals of a number of ministries. These errors were all corrected by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the corrected versions were submitted to the relevant committees of the National Assembly. This included that of the Ministry of Transportation.
The amended Ministry of Transportation budget was accepted by the relevant committees and that was the version defended by the Minister of Transportation and his team.
It must be emphasized that the two rail projects are part of those for which the President is currently negotiating funding with the Chinese government.
The N60b provided in the budget for the Lagos – Kano and Calabar – Lagos rail lines, respectively, is counterpart funding, to support the Chinese financing for the projects.
These projects are part of the Strategic Implementation Plan of the government which was disclosed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning at the National Economic Council Retreat in March 2016, in the presence of state governors. They were also mentioned by the Vice President last week in Lagos at The Nation Newspaper’s First National Economic Forum.
It is hoped that with this clarification, the raging controversy over the Calabar – Lagos rail project will be put to rest.
Media Adviser to the Honourable Minister
|Senate tells Amaechi to resign over Lagos Calabar rail project.|
Rivers state PDP has asked the former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi, not to heed the call of members of the National Assembly to resign or tender an unreserved apology, over the Lagos-Calabar rail project controversy. In a statement signed by the party's chairman, Felix Obuah, Rivers PDP called on Amaechi to remain in office so he can show the world how badly behaved he is. PDP in its statement said Amaechi had boasted of bringing Buhari into office and that he was in government to recoup all the money he spent on Buhari's campaign. Read the statement after the cut..
We believe it’s rather too early to begin to quarrel with Rotimi Amaechi or call for his resignation when he is yet to fix the Nigeria he promised would be changed by his new found love, the almighty APC in matter of months. Again, Amaechi remains our beloved son who said he single-handedly sponsored and made His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and he is yet to recoup the billions of Rivers money he invested into the project. Amaechi also said he planned to construct the controversial Lagos-Calabar rail line modernization project to empower the APC members in the South-South. This lofty dream will not be actualized if he resigns now.
Though the National Assembly members may feel hurt by Amaechi’s ingratitude after it had accepted to deliberate over the later included supplementary budget which he later went public to claim was contained in the original budget proposal, thereby portraying the federal lawmakers as partial and discriminatory, the main reason for Amaechi’s mischief was to create the impression that he has the interest of the South/South people at heart which is a fallacy.
I am happy that Amaechi has carried his antics of setting brother against brother to the very Senate that screened and confirmed his ministerial appointment. I want the lawmakers to use same to reflect on all the submissions by not only the PDP, but also the people, the civil society and concerned citizens etc, before they went on to confirm his (Amaechi) appointment despite several allegations of corruption and breaches of the Rule of law by Amaechi. This is the kind of falsehood, mischief and misrepresentation we have been contending with, from Chibuike Amaechi which his allies and the All Progressives Congress, APC have continued to deny and good a thing, he is now exhibiting same character to his appointees and this is just the beginning.
The issue is not whether or not Amaechi should resign as a minister or tender apology to the National Assembly, but this should serve as an eye opener and a pointer to the crisis he (Amaechi) instigated in Rivers State that brought about the panel of inquiry that indicted him of a myriad of alleged corrupt practices and fraudulent engagements while he served as governor in Rivers State for eight solid years. We have said it times without number that Amaechi cannot change his true colour under President Buhari and must remain a cog in the wheel of progress. His early resignation will hardly free the APC members and the unrepentant Amaechi apologists from the world of theories which is not good for the country. The taste of the pudding they say, is in the eating, while experience remains the best teacher. Please let Amaechi be!".