Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has on Thursday reacted the Federal Government’s approval for the construction of a rail line which would link Nigeria and Niger Republic, calling it “an insult and a waste of our scarce resources”.
TUC who said this in a statement signed by its President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, said the move has made it obvious to the world that the managers of the country “have ulterior and sinister motives: to ruin this country.”
The union said: “The Congress is not averse to development. Constructing rail lines to Kano, Katsina and Dutse is understandable; but why extend it to Niger Republic? Why should we borrow from the IMF, World Bank and China to build a rail line to Niger Republic? Is there something this government is not telling us?
“How could the federal government come up with such an idea in a country where potable water has become a luxury; right to electricity is regarded as a taboo for an average citizen, roads have become death traps and our health facilities lack malaria drugs? That sum – $1.96bn when exchanged at the rate of N380 per dollar is almost N800bn. This can do a lot in the economy.”
TUC further lamented, saying: “Your Excellencies, there are many roads seeking attention throughout the country. The Lagos-Ibadan expressway services every vehicle coming into Lagos, including the ones from Kano, Katsina and Dutse; why has it not been completed? The Niger Delta that lays the golden egg does not have good roads and potable water. They neither fish in their water nor go to the farm because of oil spillage.
“Yes, it is true that the NDDC was supposed to provide most of the basics; unfortunately, the reverse is the case because of corruption. Those appointed to manage the Commission ended up looting it dry. None is in jail because in the very first place it was a political settlement. Since someone fainted during the National Assembly probe of the Commission, we have not heard anything again on the matter. It is shameful it happened at a time our “incorruptible” president holds sway.
“All we are saying is that Charity begins at home! This is not the time for profligacy and licentious spending; the government must manage our lean purse prudently. We must set our priorities right because Nigeria is becoming a laughing stock to the whole world. Tinkering with such ideas at a time the electricity tariff has been increased and fuel price hiked is indeed suicidal. Nigeria should stop playing big brother at the expense of Nigerians. This government is not being fair to Nigerians. Simple,” TUC concluded.
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TUC kicks against FG’s approval for Rail construction to Niger Republic