Amaechi, 2nd right and La Mohammed at Apapa Port on Saturday

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said Nigeria needs $5.3b to execute the standard guage rail line between Ibadan and Kano.

He said the project will be financed with a Chinese loan and he therefore appealed to the National Assembly to approve it.

Amaechi spoke today when he took information minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on a tour of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line. Among the places visited was the Ibadan Train Station.

Amaechi said $1.6 billion is being spent on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail line and the stations, with $200-$300 million counterpart funds from the Federal Government.

Mohammed said Nigeria is effectively utilizing the funds it borrowed from China and elsewhere for infrastructural development to create jobs and provide the basis for economic development.

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“There is no better way to answer Nigerians as to what we have done with the money we have borrowed than this trip,” he told the over 40 journalists who accompanied them on the inspection.

”On this trip, you have seen first hand the stations being constructed, the rail lines and the people who are working on the projects.

“Rather than arguing with critics, we opted to allow you (journalists) – the ears and eyes of Nigerians – to come and see for yourselves what we are doing with the money we are borrowing,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said there is nothing bad in borrowing, provided the funds are invested in infrastructure rather than services or consumption.

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“We didn’t borrow money for services or overhead expenditure. We borrowed money for capital projects: rail; roads; bridges; power – infrastructure generally,” he said.

The Minister said the tour of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Project is the first in a series of inspection the administration is embarking upon to showcase to Nigerians the status of work on the projects the government is executing with the money it has borrowed.

He expressed delight at the level of work on the train stations and the modern coaches procured to convey passengers and goods on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail line.

The Ministers and their teams inspected the gigantic Ebute Meta Railway Station Building and yard construction work; Apapa Railway Station; Dockyard Station as well as Agege; Kajola; Papalanto; Abeokuta and Ibadan Train Stations, which are at various stages of completion.