The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday said if the National Assembly was not comfortable with government’s borrowings from China, it should tell where huge infrastructure loans could be accessed.
He expressed worries about probes by the lawmakers on loans collected by Nigeria and stressed that such probes could stall the release of more funds to the country.
Amaechi also stated that the Federal Government would not provide hand sanitisers at train stations following the resumption of rail transportation activities at the Abuja-Kaduna line.
Amaechi said these at the Idu Train Station on Wednesday as passenger volume at the facility was very low when compared to what obtained before the shutdown of activities three months ago.
The minister said efforts were being made to repay the loans, particularly the ones from China, adding that the National Assembly’s investigations should not frustrate the construction of rail projects.
The House of Representatives had resolved on Tuesday to review loan facilities already taken by Nigeria from China and other countries.
The transportation minister had appeared before the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements on the $500m loan taken on the Abuja-Kaduna and other rail line projects.
Reacting to the probes, Amaechi said, “I have told the House of Representatives that first I just got to know that there is a clause in the agreement (with China).
“It is simple; for example, the loan to construct Ibadan to Kano rail is $5.3bn. The implication is that if by the end of the day, you don’t pay back our money, whatever we need to take from you, we will take from you.”
He added, “But what the Chinese normally do is that they go after the same asset to recover their money. So what is wrong with that?”
The minister said if the lawmakers felt that borrowing from China was wrong, they should tell the Federal Government where to get loans from for infrastructure development.
He said, “Secondly, I have told the National Assembly that there is nothing wrong with investigation.
“It is part of their responsibility, but for now they will jeopardise the ability of government to raise money if we continue to ask questions that will make China to raise eyebrow and start wondering what is wrong.”
He said Nigeria might lose the loans for the Port Harcourt-Aba, Umuahia-Enugu, Markurdi, Gombe, Jos, Damaturu and Maiduguri projects.
Amaechi said the country could also lose the money it seeks for the Ibadan to Kano rail project, which include Ilorin, Minna and Kano.
He added, “And then the loan for Lagos to Calabar being pursued with the Russians may also be lost, and the areas covered include Ore, Bennin to Asaba, Onitsha, Warri, Uyo, Calabar.”
The minister said the government had mapped out plans to repay the loans, as an escrow account had been opened to pay in the money.
Present Your Primary Six Certificate If You Went to School, PDP Tells Oshiomhole
The Peoples Democratic Party, on Monday, asked a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, to present his Primary School Leaving Certificate if he actually went to school.
The Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council for the Edo governorship election, Chief Dan Orbih, made the demand while addressing party members and supporters in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state.
Orbih also urged Oshiomhole to tell Nigerians the cause of his quarrel with his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, whom he described as a worthy alumnus of the University of Ibadan.
“They said Governor Godwin Obaseki, who graduated from the University of Ibadan, has no certificate. I challenge Adams Oshiomhole to show us his Primary 6 certificate,” Orbih stated.
He urged Oshiomhole to “allow Edo people to decide who governs them. In four years, Godwin Obaseki has done more than what Oshiomhole did in eight years.”
On his part, Obaseki announced that the construction of the 12.75km Ososo-Okpella Road, which was abandoned by previous administration, would begin before the end of the year.
How Arsenal Conquered Chelsea to Win 2019/20 FA Cup
The 2020 FA Cup will always be remembered as the final without any fans.
It will also be remembered as Arsenal’s first trophy under Mikel Arteta after they came from behind to beat Chelsea and claim a record 14th FA Cup triumph.
Chelsea drew first blood when Olivier Giroud teed up Christian Pulisic, who slotted the ball past Emi Martinez.
The American terrorised the Arsenal defence in the opening stages of the game and he threatened to double Chelsea’s lead shortly afterwards.
But Mikel Arteta’s side rode the storm and looked to hit the Blues on the break with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang operating down the left channel in between Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta.
And it was down that channel that Aubameyang hauled his side back into the final.
Kieran Tierney’s lovely ball found the Arsenal skipper as he outpaced Azpilicueta before being brought down by the Chelsea defender.
Penalty and a yellow card for the Spaniard.
Aubameyang brushed himself down and sent Willy Caballero the wrong way.
But it was game over for Azpilicueta shortly afterwards as he went down holding his hamstring and was replaced by Andreas Christensen.
After half-time, Chelsea’s goalscorer suffered the same fate as Pulisic also left the pitch close to tears as Pedro replaced him.
Pulisic was probably the best player on the pitch but his injury didn’t appear to stunt Chelsea as they looked the more likely to score.
That was until, out of nowhere, Aubameyang grabbed his second goal of the game in clinical style.
Hector Bellerin’s surging run forward saw the ball break to Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian found Aubameyang, who twisted Kurt Zouma inside-out before dinking the ball delightfully over Caballero.
Six minutes later, Arsenal had a mountain to climb after midfielder Matteo Kovacic was shown a second yellow card for an innocuous-looking challenge on Granit Xhaka.
Quite why VAR was used to reverse the decision is baffling.
While Chelsea will feel hard done by, Arsenal saw out the remaining 17 minutes – plus seven additional minutes – in a professional manner as they won the FA Cup yet again!
Grocery Retailer, Shoprite, Pulls Out of Nigeria
Africa’s biggest grocery retailer, Shoprite, is exiting Nigeria after 15 years.
The Cape Town-based retailer has started a formal process to consider the potential sale of all or a majority stake in its supermarkets in Nigeria, it said in a trading statement for the 52 weeks to end June released on Monday.
South African retailers have struggled in the Nigeria market and most recently Mr Price has exited the market after Woolworths did the same six years ago.
In the statement, Shoprite said the results for the year do not reflect any of their operations in Nigeria as it will be classified as discontinued operation.
International supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6% to group sales, and reported 1.4% decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78% of overall sales and saw 8.7% rise for the year.
As a result of lockdown, customer visits declined 7.4% but the average basket spend increased by 18.4%.