Amaechi sues for peace in South East, South South to boost regions’ development
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has charged the people of the South East and South-South regions to love themselves and work better together to foster greater development in the zones.
Amaechi stated this at an interactive session with the South East, South-South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) in Lagos, at the weekend, while addressing some of their concerns on security, power, socio-economic integration and representation in government.
His words: “We fight a lot among ourselves. I’m saying this so that we can separate emotions from reality. Today it is not about President Muhammadu Buhari, it is about us. This administration is doing a lot, but because it is President Buhari, we pretend not to see those things.
“We complain about lopsided appointments. Apart from the area of security, have you checked other areas side by side? The President will appoint someone from the South East and people from the same region will fight against such appointments, if you are the President, how will you feel?
“When we took office, the President asked us to complete all projects left by previous administrations before starting new ones. We did that in all regions. We have completed the Port Harcourt Airport and we are working on Enugu Airport and the Enugu-Onitsha road, no matter how slow.
“The second Niger Bridge in Onitsha is at 48 per cent and we have assured the country that by 2022 it would be completed. Those from Onitsha or Anambra can go to the site and verify.”
Citing other sundry projects being undertaken by the Federal Government in the regions, he lamented that people still criticise the President, who he said, was doing much for the zone, asking, “How do we survive by ethnicity?
On rail projects, he explained that the economics showed that Lagos to Kano have capacity to move 30 million tons of cargo per year, while Port Harcourt to Maiduguri has capacity for 11 million tons.
“We are currently doing the analysis for Lagos to Calabar to know how many tons of cargo can be moved there per year. So, we started with the Lagos to Kano rail. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo approved it, while President Goodluck Jonathan started the construction by doing Abuja to Kaduna and President Buhari told us to complete all previous projects,” he added.
He further noted that the problem with Nigeria’s maritime was insecurity, stressing that there are rich Nigerians who do bunkering, escort vessels and the OMSL group, which claimed that they protect vessels and so on.
“We have a disadvantage where those who are making the money will not allow us to provide the security. We have bought equipment for securing our waters, but the moment I announced it, they reported me everywhere. But we must end it,” Amaechi added.
Speaking, President of SESSPN, Hannibal Uwaifo, pledged that the group’s readiness to work with the regions’ people in government and support them, irrespective of political leanings to help and promote and further develop the zones.