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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, 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 earthwork
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.