By Chioma Iruke
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is taking loans in order to build world class infrastructure that will benefit generations of Nigerians and reverse the massive infrastructure deficit in the country.
The Minister stated this in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Thursday at a town hall meeting to address the vandalism of power and telecommunications infrastructure in the country.
“Naysayers have recently ramped up their criticism of the Buhari Administration for borrowing. These critics are insincere. We are not borrowing for recurrent expenditure or to pay salaries. We are borrowing to build world class infrastructure that will benefit generations of Nigerians. And we have a lot to show for the loans we have taken.
“Today, the standard-gauge rail lines between Lagos and Ibadan as well as Abuja and Kaduna are running well. Today, we have new airport terminals in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Today, the Itakpe-Warri rail line that was abandoned for decades is running,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed, who noted that there are currently well over 13,000km of federal roads under repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction, emphasized that there is a road project in every state of the Federation.
“Today, we have started the countdown to when the 2nd Niger Bridge, which successive administrations have built only on paper, will be completed. The list of projects we are handling with the loans we obtained is long,” he said.
“It is an irony that those who are criticizing us today performed abysmally in terms of modernizing our infrastructure, even when they served at a time when our earnings were multiples of what we get today. Had they embarked on the kind of infrastructure development we are currently engaged in, perhaps there would have been no reason for us to borrow as much as we are doing now.
“We will not be deterred by the antics of those who believe they can play politics with everything,” the Minister added.
He said despite a drastic drop in revenues and competing priorities, especially that of battling insecurity, the federal government has invested heavily in providing new infrastructure, as well as reconstructing and rehabilitating existing ones.
Alhaji Mohammed observed that in recent times, such laudable efforts of the government are being thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens, thereby depriving the greater citizenry from enjoying them.