Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has warned the House of Representatives committee on treaties and agreements against continuing the probe on loan agreement between Nigeria and China.
According to him: “I have said here to the house, and it is a pity that I’m saying it in public, outside Nigeria, they are sensitive to what you say. Nobody is stopping you from your investigation.
We are saying that Nigeria has applied for three loans already. The minister of finance told me that she was stopped and told that the next borrowing plan would not be approved unless you get Port Harcourt-Maiduguri.
Port Harcourt-Maiduguri goes through the south-east and the north-east. The only south-south town is Port Harcourt. We are about to apply for a loan. They will not grant that loan.
Then you summoned us back to the House to ask why we are constructing Lagos-Kano and we are not constructing Port Harcourt-Maiduguri. Can we be allowed to get this loan? Then you can summon us, not to start what you are doing and the whole process will then be stopped.
My fear is that at the end of the day, some sections of this country will suffer if they stop giving us loans; two projects that will suffer: the first one is Lagos-Ibadan (rail line), we have not finished disbursement.
We are asking for a loan to commence work from Ibadan to Kano. The day they (China) say ‘the government is not supporting the loans you people are taking, we are no longer giving you,’ that is the end of the project.
The economy of this country can only be propelled by transportation. We don’t mind this investigation but can we please shift it to December or January when we would have possibly taken these loans.
Once we get these loans, chairman, turn me upside down, I will answer you. There are rumblings up there in China and there are loans we have asked for.
If your government is not in agreement with this – don’t forget that there are all sorts of allegations against China here and there – we can stop.”