*** FG releases N72bn funding for Lagos-Ibadan railway project
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said there is no going back on the repair work on the Abuja Airport. He said the airport damaged the landing gear of Lufthansa Aircraft, forcing the aircraft to spend three days at the airport which reinforces the need for urgent repairs.
This is coming as Federal Government has released N72 billion counterpart funding for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan railway project.
Amaechi, who spoke in Abuja, said the closure of the airport was for the good of all including foreigners.
“We are not going back on the closure of Abuja airport. I understand that Lufthansa aircraft landed and damaged its gear and has been here for three days. The runway was built to last 20 years but it has been in use now for 34 years.
“We cannot do it only at night. We don’t want to lose anybody. We are not repairing but re-building. If anything happens, you will ask us to resign and we don’t want to resign.”
The repair has been a source of friction between the government and the National Assembly. Government had planned to use the Kaduna airport, which also undergoing repairs, as an alternative airport where Abuja-bound passengers are expected to be transported by road to the nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, the minister said government has released N72 billion counterpart funding for the Lagos -Ibadan railway project.
He also called on the National Assembly to approve the $30 billion foreign loan sought by government part of which would be expected on the project.
“I think in the history of Nigeria, this is the first time that we are releasing counterpart funds in full so that there will be no delay since the Chinese loan appears to have been approved.
“The only thing we need to do, I thank God there is somebody from the National Assembly, is to plead with the National Assembly that the funds have been approved, then the National Assembly should please approve the $30billion loan.
“If you don’t encourage the National Assembly to make that approval, then, the economy won’t be making the kind of progress we want the economy to make.
So, for me here, I will enjoin you to persuade the National Assembly to kindly make that approval because it is tied to projects”.
The rail project was awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, and will be funded jointly by the federal government and the Chinese firm at $1.5bn.