President Muhammadu Buhari has given the directive that all the 36 state capitals should be connected with rail in the ongoing railway projects, the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr, Chibuike Amaechi, passed on the President’s directive on Thursday at the meeting with the Chairman Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Sen. Shehu Sani.
The meeting which was also attended by the Ministers of Finance; Budget and National Planning; and Power, Works and Housing, was to address the President’s $5.5billion loan request.
Amaechi said that the central rail line project connecting several communities of northern and southern Nigeria would be completed in June, 2018.
He further stated that 17 coaches are expected to arrive in November and out of the number, 10 will be deployed to Abuja-Kaduna rail line while the remaining seven will be deployed to the Itakpe-Warri rail line.
The Minister said that part of the money being requested now for approval by the senate was to execute the rail projects covering Kano-Kaduna, and Lagos-Ibadan networks.
Sani had earlier advised that if Nigeria “must borrow, it must borrow responsibly”.
Sani added: “the committee has the mandate to examine the merits and otherwise of the President’s current loan request.
“If we must bequeath to the future generation a pile of debt, it must be justified with commensurate infrastructural proof of the value of the debt, he said.
“The payment plan of this debt will undoubtedly last the length of our lifetimes and possibly beyond.
“We must leave behind a legacy that will appease and answer the questions the next generation of Nigerians will ask,” Sani concluded.
Also providing insight into the loan request, the Director-General, Debt Management Office, Mrs Patience Oniha, explained that the loans have sustainable benefits that would live beyond the present generation of Nigerians.
“What we should take away is that we are going into projects whose benefits don’t go away.
“The roads don’t go away, the schools don’t go away, and the hospitals don’t go away but all that we need to do is to maintain them properly and that is the explanation I want to make on that,” she said.