By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has urged security personnel at the Abuja train stations not to allow anyone access into the railway complex without wearing a face mask.
The minister stated this while on a visit to the Idu, Abuja train terminal to inspect passengers’ compliance to COVID-19 safety measures, following the reopening of the Abuja – Kaduna train services after a four-month lockdown occasioned by the pandemic.
Amaechi noted that the incidences of eminent personalities flouting the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC COVID-19 safety measures at airports will not be condoned at train stations.
While calling on Nigerians to imbibe the simple, safety basics, he noted that “protecting ourselves against COVID-19 takes no special training.”
He also debunked claims by the National Assembly that the amount of indebtedness of the country to foreign countries is tantamount to ceding the country’s sovereignty to other nations, particularly China.
According to him, loans being accessed from foreign financial bodies are for infrastructural development with payment stretched across an agreed period, adding that as a result, an escrow account managed by the Federal Ministry of Finance has been opened, with the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, making monthly payments towards loan repayment.
Fielding questions from journalists, Amaechi disclosed that he is to appear again before the House of Representatives on 17th August 2020, to give insight into the commercial loan agreement signed between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China to the tune of $5.3 billion.
“If there were financial institutions within the country that could loan the ministry such enormous sums of money, there would be no need seeking funds across shores”, he said.
He, however, expressed confidence that the project when completed will not only have the capacity to repay the loans but will generate revenue for the country, as well as create employment for the teeming unemployed youths in the land.