By Albert Akota & Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has justified the Federal Government’s decision to build major infrastructure projects in the country with borrowed funds.
This is as the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Cooperation, Engr. Fidet Ohiria has hinted that the Lagos-Ibadan Railway will begin skeletal services in September. “We’ll begin skeletal activities on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project in the middle of September from Yaba to Ibadan, while the finishing constructions continue.
The Information Minister and MD, NRC made these statements, Saturday, while embarking on an inspection tour of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project, alongside the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Speaking to Pressmen at the Ibadan Station, Lai Mohammed said, “There’s no better way to answer Nigerians about the monies we’ve borrowed than this trip. We’ve seen first-hand the railtrack, the stations and the people that are working. This is a project that will outlast virtually all of us.”
The Minister urged journalists, to be the ones educating Nigerians on the wisdom in taking loans to build the nation’s infrastructure.
“We didn’t borrow money for services or for overhead expenditures. We borrowed money for capital projects- Railways, roads, power and other infrastructure. This is one of the series of inspections this administration will make along with you, so you can better enlighten Nigerians that there is nothing bad in borrowing, provided that loan will be invested in infrastructure. There is nothing bad in borrowing as long that loan is going to create jobs and an enabling environment,” he said.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed further noted that the Coaches for the Lagos-Ibadan Railway, could compete with those found anywhere else in the world. He commended the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, for his passion in delivering rail infrastructure to Nigerians.
“I’m very excited not because I’m the Minister of Information, but when I got into the train this morning, it was as clean and modern as anywhere else in the world. I was also quite impressed with the passion of the Honourable Minister of Transportation.
“At every point in time, he’s pushing the contractors, telling them he can’t wait till November, because he wants to deliver to Nigerians, infrastructure. You can also feel the passion and enthusiasm of Nigerians at every station we stopped. I’ll leave the story to you to tell Nigerians. I’m impressed and I hope that you will come back here for the commissioning of the stations and the entire Lagos-Ibadan Railway project,” Alhaji Lai Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Cooperation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria has hinted that the Lagos-Ibadan Railway will begin skeletal services in September.
“We’ll begin skeletal activities on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project in the middle of September from Yaba to Ibadan, while the finishing constructions continue. We already have 24 coaches and with that, we’re sure of making 16 round trips a day”, Engr. Okhria said.