Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has said he doesn’t want to resign his appointment on account of any eventuality that may occur if the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was not closed down for repairs.
This came as Federal Government on Monday said that it has released N72billion being the full counterpart funding for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan modernization railway project.
The minister was responding to concerns raised by the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Udenba-Jacobs, who made a presentation on behalf of the Organised Private Sector, OPS, at the Second Presidential Business Forum, presided over by acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
The Forum provided a platform to engage and interact with the private sector to inform it about the government’s policies, programmes and activities.
Ameachi said the gear of an aircraft belonging to a foreign airline was damaged by the airport tarmac, adding that it was originally meant to last for 20 years but has lasted for 34 years now.
He insisted on the closure of the airport to effect the repairs for the good of Nigerians and foreigners alike.
He said: “We are not going back on the closure of Abuja airport. I understand that Lufthansa aircraft landed and damaged its gear and has been here for three days. The runaway was built to last 20 years but it has been in use now for 34 years.
“We cannot do it only at night. We don’t want to lose anybody. We are not repairing but re-building. If anything happens, you will ask us to resign and we don’t want to resign.”
Also Rotimi Amaechi, while speaking at the second quarterly Presidential Business Forum in Abuja, presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo appealed to the National Assembly to approve the Federal Government’s request to obtain N30billion dollars foreign loans, saying it would speed up the development of the country.
He said: “The construction of Lagos-Ibadan Railway, the Ministery has been kind enough to release the counterpart funding in full.
“I think in the history of Nigeria, this is first time that we are releasing counterpart funds in full so that there will be no delay since the Chinese loan appears to have been approved.
“The only thing we need to do, I thank God there is somebody from the National Assembly, is to plead with the National Assembly that the funds have been approved, then the National Assembly should please approve the 30billion dollars loan.
“If you don’t encourage the National Assembly to make that approval, then, the economy won’t be making the kind of progress we want the economy to make.
“So, for me here, I will enjoin to persuade the National Assembly to kindly make that approval because they are tied to projects,’’ he said.
It will be recalled that railway project, which has been awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, is to be jointly funded by the Nigerian and Chinese governments.
The project scheduled to start next month would cost about $1.5bn (N458bn).
Source – Vanguard