By Bamigbala Adekola

The Joint Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt and Land Transport on Monday, 7th August, 2017 conducted an oversight visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation Headquarters and the Project Office of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation CCECC in Ebute Metta, Lagos. The purpose of the visit was to assist the committee assess the project implementation plan for the recently approved loan request by the Federal Government from the China Exim Bank for the purpose of completing various railway rehabilitation/construction projects across the country.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport Senator Gbenga B Ashafa, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sanni, led the delegation from the Senate. Other members of the Joint Committee who were present include Senator Yahaya Abdulai and Senator Philip A. Gyunka. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria and the representative of the Managing Director of CCECC, Mr. Leo Yinv received the Senators.

In his speech, Senator Ashafa stated, “The focus of this visit is to immediately set in perspective our commitment to ensuring a high level of accountability in public expenditure. This is in line with our constitutional responsibility to carry out periodic oversight functions to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies under the supervision of the Joint Committee.”

Speaking further, the Senator called on the project contractor CCECC to ensure that they maximize the local materials and manpower in order to have direct impact on the Nigerian Economy. In his words, “We are confident that the Lagos to Kano, and Calabar to Lagos railway modernization projects would in no small way further reinvigorate the Nigerian economy through the creation jobs. We therefore call on CCECC to maximize local content in the in the area of raw materials and labour force.”

In Similar Vein, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign debt, Senator Shehu Sanni stated that with the recent approval of the Railway Loan by the Senate, the Contractor has no excuse but to deliver on  its mandate.

On his part, the representative of the contractor, Mr. Leo Yinv took the members of the committee through the Project Implementation Plan for the completion of the Lagos to Ibadan Segment of the Lagos to Kano Railway modernization project and assured that while all pre-fabrication works was being done in the interim, substantial earthwork would commence on the project towards the end of November 2017.

From the headquarters of project in Ebute Metta, the Senators also conducted an on the spot assessment of the earth work of the project across Lagos and assured all stakeholders of the Nigerian Senate’s commitment to assisting the Executive arm in the actualization of every developmental project within its purview.

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