The former Minister insisted that in order to maintain peace and security in the country, the North must not continue to hold unto power.
A First Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi has warned that any attempt by the North to retain power in 2023 will lead to a more serious case that will affect the existence of Nigeria.
Amaechi warned that the country may explode if the two leading political parties decide to field candidates from the North.
He said he was not aware that some people in the North still believe in the Uthman Danfodio mandate that the region will continue to rule the country
Amaechi said he is aware that there is a new thinking in the North that believe that the North should not just keep power to themselves.
“If that is the case, that the North wants to keep power in 2023, it might lead to a more serious case in the country and it will affect our continued existence as a nation,” he said, according to Sun.
“If the two parties provide northern candidates, then the two parties in their vision have created a situation that would explode and when it explodes, nobody should be blamed, except the people who have created the situation.”
The Federal Government on Saturday said the Transportation University being constructed in Daura, Katsina State, will be ready by September 2021.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made the disclosure in Katsina during an inspection of the project.
The $50m project is a corporate social responsibility project of CCECC, the Chinese company handling the nation’s rail project.
Mr Amaechi explained that the Chinese company just got approval from the Katsina State Government as proper construction commences next month.
The Minister added that the CCECC will provide the manpower and technical skills for five years before the federal government will be able to take over.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the university was done by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2019, but the coronavirus pandemic stalled efforts on the project.
A Courtesy Call Mr Amaechi visited Katsina on Saturday with a team of consultants to pay a courtesy call to Governor Aminu Masari.
The Minister thanked the Governor for his support in making the project see the light of day.
In his response, Governor Masari thanked the Federal Government for the decision to establish the Transport University in Daura.
According to the governor, opportunities that come with education are limitless.
He assured the Minister of his administration’s commitment to making sure that the State remains hospitable to the project’s success.
Located in Sandamu Local Government Area in Daura Emirate, the specialised university will help the country build a retinue of competent railway engineers who can maintain and improve on the country’s new rail infrastructure, Mr Amaechi has said.
Amaechi also noted that about 150 Nigerians are presently studying in China through University scholarships paid for by CCECC
A heated argument ensued on Monday between the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Agreements and Protocols, Nicholas Ossai.
The committee is investigating the $500billion loan agreement between Nigeria and China for the Federal Government’s rail projects.
While the public hearing was ongoing, Amaechi said Nigeria was very unlikely to get the remaining loans from China because of the investigations being carried out by the House.
He accused the Committee of pursuing a political agenda, alleging that Ossai had approached him on the South-South Rail Project.
Following the increasing rise in Amaechi’s tone, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, stormed the venue of the hearing and called for a 30-minute break.
The minister was later discharged and asked to reappear before the lawmakers on Tuesday at 12 noon.
This is the second time the Minister would be summoned before the Committee over the foreign loan meant for railway projects.
On July 29, he appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.
Amaechi warned that the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.
He also argued that constant probing or investigation may suggest that an arm of the government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.
Amaechi noted that while the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he begged them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has appeared before the House of Representatives Public Hearing on Treaties and Protocols.
Speaking during the hearing in Abuja on Monday, Amaechi disagreed with the committee, saying he is unaware of a N33 billion contract by the Ministry of Transport but only a $1.6 billion contract.
He said the action of the committee is political.
The minister who appeared before the committee for a second time maintained his position that Nigeria is now very unlikely to get the remaining loans from China due to the investigations being carried out by the House.
According to him, the committee probe suggested that the different arms of government do no support the loan.
The committee is also interested in the number of Nigerians and Chinese involved in the Federal Government rail project.
Amaechi’s comments come three weeks after he begged the lawmakers to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.
He warned that the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.
While noting the lawmakers have the powers to conduct such a probe, he appealed to them to do so after Nigeria has obtained the loan to prevent the proposed projects from suffering a setback.
“The investigation being carried out by the National Assembly may frustrate the loan agreement between us and China on the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail project.
“We have the approval to construct the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines; we are also at the point of negotiating for the loans.”
“Summoning us to the National Assembly to come and address the loans would look like the government is no longer interested in the loan,” the minister said.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has reacted to the controversy trailing the Federal Government’s planned securement of $500million loan from China.
The House of Representatives had raised an alarm over clauses in Article 8 (1) of the Commercial Loan Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China.
In the said agreement, Nigeria stands to concede her sovereignty to China should there be a default in the repayment of the $400million for the Nigerian National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone phase 2 project signed in 2018.
The controversial clause in the agreement signed by the Federal Ministry of Finance on behalf of Nigeria and Chinese bank on September 5, 2018 provides:
“The borrower hereby irrevocably provides waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration pursuit to Article 85 thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award pursuit thereto except for the military asset and diplomatic asset.”
But Amaechi, who appeared as a guest on Media TV (known to Noble Reporters Media), explained that he told the National Assembly members not to probe the loan issue too much in order not to scare the lender.
“The reason why I said that is because we have already applied for $5.3billion to execute the rail from Ibadan to Kano. We are about applying for about $3billion to execute the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“Don’t forget the National Assembly approved that loan. It is unconstitutional and impeachable if you take a loan without the approval of the National Assembly. So the same National Assembly that approved the loan is now questioning the same loan and the terms of the loan having looked at it before.
“If I am the lender, I will be worried. If they get worried, they will say ‘No, we will not approve the remaining loans you have applied for,” he said.
Amaechi who described the loan as the cheapest so far, said the Chinese loan is a concessionary loans at 2.8 percent interest.
He explained that before meeting China, the Federal Government had already approached other countries who didn’t approve the request on the ground that they didn’t have money.
HURIWA Gives FG Ultimatum To Pull Out Of Chinese Loan Deal
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said Nigeria was not in anyway ceding its sovereignty to China, explaining that the Sovereign Guarantee clause in the loan agreement was to assure China that it can take over the asset constructed with the loan, should Nigeria default.
Amaechi, while speaking on a television programme monitored by The Guardian, yesterday, said: “The terms contained in the agreement is not as if we are signing off the country’s sovereignty. What we do is that we give a sovereign guarantee, which is an immunity clause. The clause is that in case the country defaults, China will come to collect the items agreed upon.”
The minister assured that the Chinese would not take over assets that were not constructed with the money, in case of default. And should the asset depreciate; then the country can discuss other assets they can take over to recoup the loans.
He disclosed that the Federal Government is seeking the National Assembly’s approval for $22.5b loan from China for railway modernisation. A breakdown shows that Federal Government is seeking $5.3b for the construction of Ibadan-Kano railway line, $3b for Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, $11.1b for Lagos-Calabar and $3.5b for Abuja to Itakpe.
He noted that the interest rate on the loan is about 2.8 percent, spanning a period of 20 years and has seven-year moratorium, saying with such terms, it is impossible the country will not be able to pay back within that period.
He disclosed that the Federal Government has started paying back $36m out of the $500m loan collected by the Goodluck Jonathan administration for the construction of Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway.
On why he is asking the National Assembly to stop probing the loan, Amaechi said: “If you frighten the Chinese that they won’t recoup the loan, they will pull back. They want us to show them evidence that we will pay back, and one of the evidences is that waive backs the immunity clause, so that they can take their asset. It is the immunity clause that is being debated.”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has given the Federal Government 72 hour-ultimatum to pull away “from the toxic and enslaving loan agreement with China, which threatens our sovereignty.”
It said failure to pull out of the agreement would prompt mobilisation of all CSOs in the country to challenge this new form of economic colonialism foisted by China and signed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in a competent court of law.
According to the Rights group, the history of Chinese loans, especially in Africa, has become a growing concern, as several observers, including the United States representatives, have warned many nations on what they described as Chinese debt-trap diplomacy, as the Asian nation allegedly used finance as a weapon in many developing countries.
In a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA argued that since all Chinese loans are tied to infrastructural developments, some African nations have had to forfeit their stakes in the infrastructure, which they used as collateral, after they defaulted.
The Minister Of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has appealed to the National Assembly to halt its probe of the 500 million dollars loan from the Chinese government.
Amaechi made the appeal during an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Protocols on Wednesday.
According to the him, the loan which is meant for the completion of the Federal Government’s rail projects may be truncated by the Chinese government if it suspects that there is a disagreement between the executive and the legislature.
The minister also argued that constant probing of the investigation may suggest that an arm of government does not agree with the loan and may cause the Chinese government to withdraw it.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has warned Nigerians to always wear nose masks and have sanitisers.
Speaking during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Amaechi said he is “dead scared” as he knows people who have died from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister, who appeared at the regular PTF briefing for the first time, held up a sanitiser during his speech.
According to him, the Federal Government will ensure that traveller using the nation’s railway system must always use their face masks and hold their sanitisers as well.
Amaechi explained that he opened the railway from Abuja to Kaduna because of pressure for the Sallah holiday, stressing no masks, no boarding.
“If anybody has ever seen me in public without this (referring to the Santiser), let the person raise up his hand. The reason is that I have seen people die of COVID-19, so I am dead scared.
“If you ask the last speaker, I refused to agree that we should open the railways. It is the pressure of those who want to participate in the forthcoming spiritual activities that made me accept that we will open the railway from Abuja to Kaduna.
“We don’t want to see how handsome or beautiful you are. Please wear for me a face mask, not a mouth mask. If you wear a mouth mask, the train will stop and you will come down.”
Speaking further, the Minister explained that security has been beefed ahead of the Sallah celebrations in a few days’ time.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, his Ekiti State counterpart, Kayode Fayemi and the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, have been accused of masterminding the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State.
Chairman of the APC in Ondo State, Hon. Henry Olu Olatuja, accused the three prominent politicians of instigating an undemocratic process causing intra-party crisis in the state.
According to Olatuja, ten of the governorship aspirants in the state for the July 20 governorship primary may boycott the exercise.
He said the aspirants will not participate in the primary election should the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC) insist on indirect mode of primary for the party’s primary in the state.
The Ministry of Transportation will partner and encourage the initiatives of the Transport and Logistics Institute to educate Nigerians more on the sector.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this in a statement by Mr Gift Okpara, his Media Aide on Sunday in Abuja.
Amaechi disclosed this while laying the foundation for the transport institute at the Gregory University, Uturu (GUU) in Abia State.
He said: “As Minister of Transportation, I am willing to partner and encourage the University in its initiative to educate Nigerians in the Transportation and Logistics field.
“Taking advantage of the Federal Government’s development strides in Transportation particularly the rail and maritime sectors.
“We’ll see how we’ll partner with the university in the Ministry of Transportation, especially when we start the construction of the Bonny-Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line.
“We are very particular about localising Railway technology, that’s why we are training our people in China and even made them to build a Transportation university and a wagon Assembly plant here in Nigeria.”
While making the commencement speech at the University’s 8th matriculation ceremony, Amaechi encouraged the students to be diligent and be courageous to ensure that they succeeded.
Chancellor and founder of GUU, Prof. Gregory Ibe, said he was inspired by Amaechi’s developmental strides in the transportation ministry.
Ibe said the school was enthusiastic to tap into that sector and aid the growth and training of Nigerians to become professionals in Transportation engineering and technology.
He said: “What we are doing here is to input technology, change methodology and then we are succeeding.
“And one of the things that we must succeed in line with your agenda in the ministry is to have this institute here, so that we can now train everybody.
“This university has a printing press, a paint factory, a sew factory, everything is produced here, we do fibre glasses here.
“Everything we do here, we do it because technology is done by human beings and I don’t see any reason why our Nigerian boys and girls who are well gifted cannot be trained in what we are doing.
“Any skill we get into, we perfect it, and in transport, to support the ministry, we are now creating something that you’ve come here to lay the foundation,” Ibe said.
In his remark the Deputy Governor of Abia, Ude Chukwu, sought the Ministry of Transportation’s assistance in ensuring that the planned inland dry ports for the State was achieved.
He pledged the State government’s willingness to support the Federal Government in any project it undertake in the state.
NobleReporters heard that the Institute upon completion will offer specialised transportation courses.
It is expected to provide specialised laboratories for Maritime and Oceanography, Aviation/Aeronautic, Designing and Construction Suites, Aerospace Engineering, Central Machining tools centre, Railway Engineering and simulation rooms.
Determined to tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, the Federal Government says it is set to deploy its integrated maritime security infrastructure. The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, stated this recently in Lagos while briefing the media ahead of the launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project.
Amaechi, who addressed the press conference alongside all the heads of agencies under the ministry, also explained the government’s decision to end the secure anchorage project, a private security initiative run outside the country’s port system. He insisted that all ships coming into the country must anchor at the national ports under the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), while expatiating on the Deep Blue Project, said 80 per cent of the assets required for the takeoff of the total spectrum maritime security architecture would be deployed by June.
Amaechi, who briefed the media after a high level security meeting with maritime stakeholders, restated the President Muhammadu Buhari government’s determination to tackle maritime insecurity head-on. He assured that the Deep Blue Project, when fully operational, would drastically reduce piracy and other crimes within Nigeria’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.
He said: “Recall that we secured an approval from the Federal Executive Council to introduce a maritime security architecture, which is coming to fruition. We engaged the Homeland Security International (HLSI), who are only to provide training and equipment, while the Nigerian Navy would lead the Police, Nigerian Army and Department of State Services, among others that would run the equipment.”
He stated that the security of the maritime sector needs a more holistic approach; hence the need to involve other arms of the country’s security services to support the Nigerian Navy working with NIMASA.
Giving a breakdown of the assets being installed under the Deep Blue Project, Dakuku revealed that a good number of the assets had arrived the country, including six interceptor boats and a special mission vessel, saying a second one will come in before the end of February.
The Director-General also disclosed that the first special mission aircraft will be in the country before the end of the first quarter of the year, while six armoured aircraft were already in the country, and the first unmanned aerial vehicle would come in before the end of February.
Dakuku said: “We expect the first helicopter in the first quarter of this year. Almost all the communication gadgets are in the country as well as the Personal Protective Gear (PPG). The C4i centre is fully operational in Kirikiri, the NIMASA Research Centre. Those are the assets we have on ground.
“However, between now and June this year, over 80 per cent of the assets would be in the country and they would be manned by the Nigerian military.”
Dakuku stated that the training aspect of the project had since commenced in phases. He said the first set of training for C4i operators and intelligence officers had been concluded. Basic infantry training for soldiers who would fight on land around the littoral areas has also been concluded and the soldiers awaiting deployment, according to him.
“These trainings would continue over time as we try to integrate the intelligence officers with the C4i and those operating the special mission vessels and aircraft,” Dakuku said.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says he is unhappy with the pace of work by the contractors handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project.
Amaechi said this on Friday in a series of tweets on his official handle after inspecting the Apapa port axis of the rail line.
This is the second time the Minister will visit the site of the rail line construction site within one week. He insisted that the contractors must meet set targets.
Amaechi was accompanied on the inspection by contractors handling the project – the chairman of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) group and the Managing Director, CCECC Nigeria.
Speaking further on the issue of meeting the deadline, Amaechi acknowledged that some progress had been made since the last time he visited.
He later disclosed in another Tweet that the contractors have assured that rail line up to Apapa would be completed by April while minor stations will be completed in June.
He added that he was informed that major stations will be completed in August.
They've told us that the rail line up to Apapa would be completed by April, June for the minor stations and August for the major stations. We however hope that they'll speed up the work and finish earlier, so we can move on to Ibadan-Kano rail line. pic.twitter.com/I5caxZGrlQ