Nigerian government approves $195m for waterways security

Shiktra Shalangwa

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The Nigerian government has approved 195 million dollars for waterways security to help reduce crime in the maritime sector.

Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, during a media interactive session in Abuja on the achievements of the ministry since inception of the present administration said that the Federal Government approved this sum to hire an Israeli company who would help train security personnel in manning the waterways.

He said under the watch of the current administration, the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has moved from a contract awarding agency to a proper regulatory agency.

The Minister said that the Aviation sector has also experienced remarkable improvement in terms of safety, as no incidence of plane crash has been recorded during the current administration.

He said to ensure the continued safety in the aviation sector, the Federal Government would ensure that equipment and policies remained in place.

On railway, Mr Amaechi said that the Federal Government is negotiating a six-billion dollar loan with the Chinese government to complete the Ibadan to Kano rail track.

According to him, completing the Ibadan to Kano corridor will help to boost the nation’s economy.

“We are currently in negotiation with the China EXIM bank to get nearly about six billion dollars to do from Ibadan to Kano.

“It is a difficult decision because the money required is about 8 billion dollars to do the double track but the Chinese are insisting that they cannot fund double track so they are asking us to do a single track.

“They are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna.

“But there are those who argue that we should not accept that, rather we should tell them (Chinese) to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense.

“We are compelled to adjust just to have movement of goods, personnel and services from Lagos to Kano.

“What makes economic sense is the ability to get the track to a seaport so that we can move goods.

“What makes economic sense to rail services is the movement of goods,’’ Amaechi concluded.

Mr Amaechi said that the ministry was also in talk with some companies in America to fund the Lagos to Calabar rail corridor and another Chinese company to fund Port Harcourt to Maiduguri corridor. He explained that this was in line with the directives of President Muhamaddu Buhari that the rail lines must reach all state capitals.

Omolayo.A