Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has highlighted the benefits of railway transport in boosting economic activities as disclosed the Federal Government is looking for other ways to fund the construction of Kano-Kaduna railway station.
In a statement by Amechi’s Media Office. He said “Railway is fuelled by economic activities, it’s not fuelled by tribes. What determines a railway construction is economics, how many tons of cargo can be conveyed.”
Amaechi also said financing is another challenge to railway development as Nigerians keep complaining about loans.
“From the budget we are now constructing Kaduna-Kano rail line while still negotiating the loan for Ibadan to Kaduna, because the plan is Lagos to Kano.
Amechi disclosed that “the Federal Government has laid out plans for the construction of Lagos-Calabar at $11.1 billion, Ibadan-kano at $5.3 billion for single track, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri at $3.02 billion for reconstruction of narrow gauge, $12 to $13 billion for standard gauge approved by the President with additional spurs, Abuja-Itakpe at $3.9 billion in addition to the central line; and Lagos-Ibadan completed at $2 billion.
He added ” Ethnicity is a big challenge to development in Nigeria, noting that rail projects around the country are built with the economy at the heart of it, because the economy should be the deciding factor for such developments, not ethnic biases.
Amaechi who was speaking as the guest lecturer, at the annual Public lecture of the Department of Economics at the University of Lagos on Friday said Transportation as a mode involves logistics, and is responsible for driving the economy of nations.
“Nigerians are too ethically conscious. You think first as your ethnicity before you think as a Nigerian. We have very few Nigerians, and ethnicity is putting pressure on the economics of railway construction. What you hear is, ‘I’m a Yoruba man, I’m an Hausa man, I’m an Igbo man.’ The Yoruba man is happy that we have done Lagos-Ibadan; the moment you do railway up to Enugu, the Igbo man would be happy. I call it the politicisation of railway construction.
“Ethnicity is not the way to go. Those who fan the embers of ethnicity are those who were benefitting from the government in the past, but are no longer benefitting from the government,” he said