…Says it’s waste of scarce resources
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has described the Federal Government’s approval for the construction of a rail line linking Nigeria to Niger Republic as an insult and waste of the nation’s scarce resources.
TUC president, Quadri Olaleye, said, by this latest move, it has indeed become obvious to the world that the managers of the Nigeria have ulterior and sinister motives, to ruin the country.
He said, “The congress is not averse to development. Constructing rail lines to Kano, Katsina and Dutse is understandable; but why extend it to Niger Republic? Why should we borrow from the IMF, World Bank and China to build a rail line to Niger Republic? Is there something this government is not telling us?”
Olaleye wondered how the Federal Government could come up with such an idea in a country where potable water has become a luxury, right to electricity is regarded as a taboo for an average citizen, roads have become death traps and the nation’s health facilities lack malaria drugs.
He reasoned that the approved fund for the project estimated at $1.96 billion, when exchanged at the rate of N380 per dollar is almost N800bn, which could do a lot in the economy.
He said, “The outbreak of the pandemic has exposed Nigeria to the world: our federal government was begging for ventilators and nose masks! Our education sector is in shambles. Agreements reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over a decade ago are yet to be met. We are celebrating six decades of independence yet Ghana, South Africa, et cetera, are threatening and treating Nigerians in their country with disdain. It hurts. It really does!”
He recalled that a report from the Debt Management Office puts Nigeria’s total debt at $79.5 billion (N28.63 trillion as of the first quarter of 2020), while debt servicing gulps trillions of naira yearly.
“News had it that Nigeria’s sovereignty is at stake if the country fails to pay China! How could the Federal Executive Council accept such now? Or has Niger Republic annexed Nigeria?
“Government has not completed the road that connects Nigeria with other Western African countries, yet the President Buhari-led administration approves construction of a rail line to Niger! What is Nigeria paying for? Or could this be another way of looting our commonwealth in preparation for the 2023 election campaign? The whole thing is becoming more confusing,” he said.
He declared that there were many roads seeking attention throughout the country, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was yet to be completed, while the Niger Delta that lays the golden egg does not have good roads and potable water.
“We must set our priorities right because Nigeria is becoming a laughing stock to the whole world. Tinkering with such ideas at a time the electricity tariff has been increased and fuel price hiked is indeed suicidal. Nigeria should stop playing big brother at the expense of Nigerians,” he added.