Senator, Governor Bicker Over Who Implemented Kaduna-Abuja Railway

THE governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai and Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial district, Ben Murray-Bruce are currently engaged in a war of who implemented the recently commissioned Abuja-Kaduna railway.

Trouble started when the lawmaker urged President Muhammadu Buhari to commend former President, Goodluck Jonathan for -the train ride he enjoyed in Kaduna”


Nasir El-rufai

The senator stated that the project was entirely the handiwork of the Jonathan- administration.

Reacting, the governor portrayed the senator as a liar.

El-Rufai noted that former President Olusegun Obasanjo designed and raised the financing and started the -EPC of the Lagos-Kano dual track-standard gauge rail system, and the Abuja Light Rail”


With this reply, HEADLINE reports that the governor has deviated from the bone of the contention.

While the senator was talking about Abuja-Kaduna railway, the governor was talking about the Lagos-Kano dual track-standard gauge rail system.

Ben Murray-Bruce

In clapping back, Murray-Bruce said El-rufai hatred for late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua may have affected the judgement of the governor.

“Your dislike of the late Yar”adua may have clouded your judgment. I made no mention of the “Abuja light railway”. My tweet referred to the Abuja-Kaduna railway which is a product of the Jonathan administration. I am happy to publicly debate this with you.”

ARE THE DUO CORRECT ABOUT THEIR CLAIM?

Investigation by HEADLINE reveals that the Obasanjo administration in 2006 in conjunction with a China Construction Company, CCECC, signed a memorandum for construction of a new standard gauge rail network consisting of Lagos-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri and the Lagos-Calabar lines to replace the existing narrow guage lines, at a cost of $8.3 billion, over a 25- year period.

HEADLINE also gathered that the counterpart funding was faulty on the part of Nigeria, while it contravened the law therefore the project did not see the light of the day.

When Yar’adua came into power and discovered that the contract did not follow due process and that the project was inflated he visited china and re-negotiated and re-scoped the entire project. It was at this point that project was segmented and the Abuja-Kaduna component was added.

Rehabilitation work started while a Chinese delegation came to Nigeria to commence on-site assessment and preparatory work on first phase of the now segmented standard gauge Abuja-Kaduna line in July 2008 and to finalise it in 2009. When Yar’adua died, Jonathan re-scoped the Lagos-Calabar line by adding Otuoke (his home town) to it.

Contract for the Abuja-Kaduna standard rail project was awarded in 2010 but the actual construction did not start till 2011. It is an $874 million project with the Exim Bank of China- facility of $500 million, while Nigeria was to pay the rest. The Project was scheduled for completion in 2014.

But Jonathan- administration though inherited it, partly funded it but not to completion.

When Buhari came in 2015, there were outstanding payments which stalled the project. Buhari paid off and worked commenced and is now completed due largely to the seriousness Buhari attached to it.