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Anger As Ameachi Plans To Construct Modern Rail In North, Old Model In Other Parts Of Nigeria

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Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, incurred the wrath of the Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transportation on Thursday at a budget defence in Abuja for what they called discrimination in rail construction.

The lawmakers accused the Minister of constructing a standard narrow gauge for the Kano-Maradi Rail line to the neighbouring Niger while constructing an old narrow gauge for other parts of Nigeria.

They protested seriously that the budget approvals which the Ministry has enjoyed so far were for equal and national development, asking why other parts of the country were not equally treated.

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Amaechi and other heads of agencies and parastatals under the transport Ministry appeared before the Joint Committee for the 2022 budget defence.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: IPOB Cancels One Week Sit-at-home, Urges Anambra People To Vote On Saturday

Reacting, the Minister said: “The construction of Kaduna -Kano railways to link up the Abuja-Kaduna rail line has commenced. Survey and Design for Ibadan -Minna – Abuja is ongoing.

“Construction of the 284 kilometres Nigeria. -Maradi (Niger Republic) standard gauge, rail line enabling interconnectivity with countries in the West Africa sub-region for the promotion of trade and commerce.

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“This important contribution by Nigeria would be mutually beneficial by adding to the economic growth of the two countries.”

Chairman of Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Danjuma Goje and House Committee Chairman, Pat Azadu kicked against the marginalization of other regions of the country in the construction rail line.

Goje, while querying the Minister expressed his discontentment over discrimination in railway construction, noting that giving Kano-Maradi modern rail lines and constructing old rail lines to other regions was unacceptable for any reason.

The Chairman Committee on Port, Pat Asadu who opened the floor after the Minister presented the budget to the Committee asked why the construction of modern rail lines for one place and constructing old rail lines to other parts of the country.

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He queried, “Why won’t you construct narrow-gauge across the country so that we can develop equally. I can’t sit down and approve this. These are done with such impunity, my heart bleeds. This had been reoccurring.”

The Senate Committee Chairman on Marine Transport supported the observation of Hon. Asadu.

He asked, “why you will give us an old rail line and spending a lot of money to standard gauge to Maradi”.

According to him, I completely concur with the statement of Honorable member in the House of Representatives.

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Ameachi while responding to the issue raised by the Committee said that the difference between the narrow gauge and standard gauge is speed adding that the country may not get the money to standard gauge across the country.

He said that the negotiation for a loan for the construction of the Kano-Maradi standard gauge line is about to be completed.

He also clarified that his ministry was yet to get money for Kano-Kaduna, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects. “The only money we have gotten is $1.4bn for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project,” he said.

READ ALSO: Obi Cubana Passport Seized

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On the economic justification for constructing the $1. 3bn Kano-Maradi rail, Ameachi said the project was not based on sentiments but on economic benefits for the country.

He said on completion of the Kano-Maradi and Kano to Lagos railway, all national cargoes from the Niger Republic, like uranium and gold, would be moved through the Nigerian seaport from that corridor.

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EndSARS: No Peace Without Justice, Eedris Abdulkareem To Sanwo-Olu

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Nigerian Music legend, Eedris Abdulkareem has condemned Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over his invitation for a peace walk in Lagos State.

Sanwo-Olu, in a speech on Tuesday on the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020, said he will be leading a Walk for Peace in December to herald the “healing of our land”.

“Let me use this occasion to extend an open invitation to our youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students, and the media as well as other stakeholders to join me,” he said.

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He specifically extended invitations to Falana, Adebayo, Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalink), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti; Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu; and Commander of Rapid Response Squad CSP Yinka Egbeyemi and others to join him in the “historic march for our dear Lagos.”

Falz and Mr Macaroni have since rejected the invitation as they demanded justice of those allegedly killed during the EndSARS protest before peace can be restored.

Eedris, taking to his Instagram page described the invitation for the walk of peace as being dead on arrival.

READ ALSO: EndSARS: Lagos Govt Releases White Paper In Panel Report

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According to him, no amount of walking can get Nigeria to the destination of peace without the route of justice.

His post read, “Dead On Arrival; No amount of walking can get us to the destination of peace without taking the honourable route of justice.

“Sanwo-Olu your walk of peace is dead on arrival.”

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BREAKING: Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Soludo’s Disqualification As Anambra Governor-elect

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking the disqualification of Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the governor-elect of Anambra State.

Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo, in a judgment, described the suit as frivolous, irritating, and lacking in merit.

The judge awarded a punitive cost of N2 million against the two plaintiffs to be paid to Soludo and his deputy, Ibezim.

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‘Why We Will Allow ‘Repentant’ Boko Haram Terrorists To Go Scot-free’—Borno Gov

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Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum has said the state government will not prosecute ‘repentant’ Boko Haram insurgents.

While presenting the 2022 budget at the State House Of Assembly on Tuesday, Zulum said terrorists will not be encouraged to eschew violence if they see ‘repentant’ ones being prosecuted.

Addressing the House of Assembly, the governor said, “Mr. Speaker, honourable members, we need Allah’s guidance and the utmost wisdom to work for an end to the crisis facing our dear state.

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“Prosecuting all the criminals (insurgents) would have been most appropriate but if we insist on it, we would discourage others out there that are willing to lay down their arms.

“The terrorists’ ranks could swell and our innocent fellow citizens, particularly those in local government areas, could become more vulnerable to attacks and abductions.”

READ ALSO: Police Rescue Soldier, 15 Others Abducted By Boko Haram

Noting that the exercise to de-radicalise terrorists is being handled by security forces, Zulum said the initiative does not give terrorists the freedom to kill and immediately seek pardon.

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He said none of the ‘repentant’ terrorists had been reintegrated into society yet, adding that terrorists willing to surrender must immediately “stop further attacks on civilians, security agents and facilities”.

 

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