Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has accused the past administration of awarding construction of railways to quacks.
Amaechi said this when he appeared on Channels TV where he spoke extensively on the transport policy of this administration.
During the interview, Amaechi said the derailments witnessed in some rails in some parts of the country is as a result of poor railing lines constructed by quacks employed by the last administration. The former Rivers state governor alleged that a housing construction company was awarded a contract to build a rail line during the last administration.
Read exceprts from the interview below
'At the recent aviation conference, the President did mention that this administration has failed in meeting up with critical infrastructure in the aviation sector'
Yeah, we are two years. Okay, three years maximum but not even three years. Do you think we could have created all the infrastructure that you needed to grow the aviation or the transport sector? We could not have. So when you asked the question, I want to address that question whether we have succeeded in the area of transportation. It depends on how you measure it. When we came, the former government said they had done a lot on the narrow-gauge. Check the narrow-gauge, how many things can move there?
General Electric (GE) promised us 100 locomotives; when they came down to Nigeria to access the tracks, the last exercise they did was to rehabilitate the tracks from Lagos to Kano and the GE did a survey of the tracks so that they can bring in the 100 locomotives they promised. They discovered that the two tracks we have – Lagos to Kano and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri – could not have taken more than 17 locomotives. So they did not bring the 100. Meanwhile, the past government said, “oh, we have fixed the railways, we have fixed the narrow-gauge.” If you run from here (Abuja) to Abeokuta, you have derailments. The last derailment I heard of is not Oshodi, it is after Oshodi that we had derailments.
So is this administration taking responsibility for these derailments?
How can we take responsibility for derailments that came out of the fact that most of those contractors were not railway contractors? Contracts were given to civil engineers, a company that builds houses had a contract.
And two years into this administration, you have not been able to rectify that?
No, how can you say a thing like that? We have brought it to the notice of the country that we are negotiating with GE instead of putting in our own money because we do not have money; the scarce resources we have cannot be spent when there are private sector investments.