Mu’azu Sambo, the minister of transportation, has debunked reports in some quarters that the South-East geo-political zone was been marginalised in terms of infrastructures in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Sambo made the denial on Monday while presenting the achievements of his ministry at the second edition of the ‘PMB Administration Scorecard 2015-2023’, organised by the ministry of information and culture, in Abuja.
Reacting to a question on why the south-east was restricted to narrow gauge rail lines, the minister said the zone has not been marginalised on the rail projects being executed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“There is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to marginalise the south-east and if anything, that is the one part of the country that has benefited the most on PMB infrastructure projects,” he said.
“The narrow gauge you probably are referring to is the one that runs from Maiduguri, all the way through Jos, up to Port Harcourt.
“If that is the one you are talking about, first of all, I will let you know that Maiduguri, Jos, and several other cities the rail lines traversed are not in the south-east.”
He also said there is the narrow gauge contract “that was being considered by my predecessor in office”, which had two options — “either to rehabilitate the narrow gauge at a cost of about $3 billion or to do a standard gauge at a cost of about $12 billion”.
“We don’t have the money. We are going to borrow anyway. So, we thought whatever the standard gauge will give us, the narrow gauge will also give us,” he said.
The minister added that looking at the pros and cons of the corridor, the narrow gauge would convey more cargos.
He added that the only difference between the narrow gauge and the standard gauge is the speed.
Justifying his position that the south-east zone benefited the most, the minister said the Buhari-led administration constructed the second Niger Bridge that “had defied all previous governments”.
He said the bridge would be inaugurated by Buhari before the end of the year.