Budget 2016: Southern Senators Demand Calabar-Lagos Railway

In Breaking News, National News, Politics, Reports

By CrossRiverWatch admin

Lagos Calabar rail

Senators of Southern states may have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold his assent on the controversial budget.

The lawmakers are said to be insisting that the budget should not be assented to if the Appropriation Committees of both chambers of the National Assembly fail to include the Calabar-Lagos rail line project in it.

It also emerged yesterday that the Presidency may have returned the fiscal document submitted to President Buhari for assent to the National Assembly.

Sources said the Presidency asked the National Assembly to include the Lagos-Calabar rail line in the budget before submitting it to the President for assent.

The Senate on Tuesday told the Presidency to submit a supplementary budget on the project if it felt strongly about it.

Lawmakers from the Southwest and their South South counterparts met at their caucus levels on Tuesday night to discuss the controversy.

It was gathered that the lawmakers resolved to “resist any attempt to deny their people, the vital Lagos to Calabar project”.

While the South South and South East senators met in the house of a Principal Officer of the Senate over the issue, South West senators met at the residence of Senator Gbenga Ashafa in Abuja.

A senator who attended the meeting told our reporter that they sensed that the “call for a supplementary budget on Lagos to Calabar rail line was an attempt to deny the South an opportunity to enjoy a vital rail project.”

Senator Adesoji Akanbi (Oyo South) who confirmed the position of the southern senators, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the South West was solidly behind the position of Ashafa, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, over the rail project.

Akanbi also insisted that assenting of the budget without the inclusion of the N60b Calabar-Lagos rail project would not be in the interest of the people of the Southwest geo-political zone.

He said: “Personally, I see no reason why the funds in the Ministry of Transportation should be moved completely to the Ministry of Works for the construction of roads which belong to state governments without engineering design.

“We are seeking the reversion of this decision because the Calabar – Lagos rail project is very viable and it cuts across states in the South South and South West and it would galvanise the social and economic activities of the affected regions.

“Apart from this, the project is a joint venture between Nigeria and China and it is time bound. Any attempt to leave it out of the budget this year, will affect the execution of the project”

culled from Nation

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