2019 - Ekweremadu, Shehu Sani Accuse Buhari Of Marginalising South-East
"I believe it's not fair on those of us that live in that part of Nigeria. In order to survive, there must be equity and fairness and any country running against this principle will be heading to disaster".
That's according to the Deputy leader of the Nigerian parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. He said this on Wednesday during plenary in the Red Chambers.
He has accused the Muhammadu Buhari-led executive of being partial and biased in it's commitment to national development through the railways.
"We recall that some months back, I did mention that less emphasis is been given to the railway development in the eastern axis of this country which includes: Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Makurdi all the way to Yola to Maiduguri, passing through Plateau state and some parts of Nasarawa state including Delta.
"Essentially, the response we got earlier is that Federal Government had an understanding or agreement with the General Electric to take over that axis and be able to restore the line and manage it for some time and recover their money. It was supposed to be for goods only, there was no arrangement for passengers but the tragedy is that the arrangement has collapsed and GE has withdrawn from the arrangement.
"If you recall, when we granted the permission for government to raise loan from China to develop the western axis running from Lagos to Kano, it was also of the understanding that once that approval is secured that the federal government will engage with the Chinese authorities to also secure loan to deal with the eastern axis running from Port-Harcourt.
"Today, the story has changed. Now what the Chinese authorities are being asked to do it is to come and take over that axis and use their money to fix that axis and then recover their money over time.
"I believe is not fair on those of us that live in that part of Nigeria. In order to survive, there must be equity and fairness and any country running against this principle will be heading to disaster", he said.
The motion was supported by Senator Shehu Sani, a lawmaker representing Kaduna state.
"This motion is apt and right. The last time in the senate committee of local and foreign debt, the minister of transport gave a firm pledge that the port-Harcourt Maiduguri rail line will be the next priority after the Lagos Ibadan- Kano rail line but it is now evidently clear there is no firm commitment in executing that project from Port-Harcourt and I must say this, that the rail line has a lot of social, political and economic advantage in the sense that that every line will open up the areas in terms of business and movement of people."
Meanwhile, the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan explained that President Buhari has ordered that the rail lines must cover all 36 states capital within the federation.
"GE will have its subsidiary handling the eastern axis. My concern and the central of every easterner is that GE is designed to maintain the narrow gates, it is only rehabilitation and not modernization. And I believe that what we require is to give us whatever is given to everybody in the country. As the DSP as said, let there be justice and fairness in this", he said.