By Ejike Ejike, Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, said the ministry is in talks with the government of China to establish a special university for Transportation.
Amaech, who revealed this while briefing the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts in Abuja, said the university is not part of the agreement with China for the rail project loan.
He further explained that he had to request for a training university so that Nigerians can learn and manage the rail transport business on its own without calling for aids from the Chinese engineers all the time.
The minister also explained that as part of plans, the federal government will be sending some students to China who will learn over there and come to lecture at the university when finally established; all cost to be handled by the Chinese government.
Also, the minister defended the inclusion of the Eastern Corridor Rail Line in the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (ROLLING) Plan of the Federal Government rail project.
He noted that the present administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari was only implementing contracts awarded by past presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for railway modernisation in the country.
According to him, “prior to the resolution of the Senate, this administration had taken steps to incorporate the Eastern Corridor and indeed the North East Corridor that was not provided for at all by the previous administration in 2006 and 2014 rail projects development.”
He explained that the situation, necessitated the sourcing of financial option to which the Federal Ministry of Finance has been directed by the President to take appropriate action.
He said: “The Coastal rail line already has its route alignment passing through Aba in Abia State and Onitsha in Anambra State, both of which are in the South East geopolitical zone. These projects for which the approval of the National Assembly of USD 5,214,914,368.33 being co-financing fund by China EXIM bank is being sought for the rail projects were neither conceived not approved under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, rather, this administration pursued the projects vigorously inview of their importance to the development of the socio-economic lives of the citizenry.”