Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
A pressure group, Progressive Grassroots Forum (PGF) in Nigeria, has threatened to initiate a recall process against the member representing Ndokwa/Ukwani Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Nicholas Ossai.
The group, in a statement issued by its Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator and Secretary, Henry Halliday, Collins Ordu and Reginald Ukwuoma, respectively, alleged that Ossai, as Chairman of the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, was threatening the Chinese loan facility, which was designed to construct the Lagos-Calabar railway project.
The group also condemned in totality the alleged moves by Hon. Ossai and some other leaders in the region serving in the National Assembly to deny the region developmental strides of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
The group, according to the statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, berated Ossai for allegedly acting in a manner capable of depriving the region of the coastal rail project, which connects Lagos to Calabar and other parts of the South-South region.
It also described as uncharitable the way in which Ossai had handled the investigation, noting that any attempt to truncate the realization of the railway project meant for the people of the area would be vehemently rejected.
The group wondered why a lawmaker from the region, who ought to have used his position to cooperate with the Minister of Transportation to bring about the success of the railway project to the people, would now become a hindrance to the project.
“We must join hands to condemn the move by some Niger Delta leaders to deny us our share of the developmental strides of the current administration as deserved. We are not happy that our own son, Hon. Nicholas Ossai, is the one questioning the rationality of the loans for the proposed rail project coming to the South-South.
“We are particularly disturbed by the development. How on earth would our own brother, elected to bring about developments in the region, turn against his own people by probing the loan which would bring about overall developments to our people, even when he knows that probing the loan can scare the Chinese from granting Nigeria the loan, thereby denying us the project.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be made clear that we are not in any way stopping the committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements from performing its job, what we are saying is that the committee chaired by Hon. Ossai should suspend the probe until the loan facility is granted by China.
“The Minister of Transportation, Rt.Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has said it countlessly that should the committee continue with the probe, it may scare the Chinese from granting Nigeria the loan meant for the coastal rail line.
“So it is in this regard that we are calling on the committee Chairman and his members to suspend forthwith, the probe until the loan is granted, to enable the South-South region benefit from the railway project,” it said.
While calling on prominent leaders of the region to call Hon. Ossai to order, the PGF warned that any further attempt by Hon. Ossai and his co-travelers to deny the region developments meant for them under the present administration would not be tolerated.
Recall that the Minister of Transportation, Amaechi, had in a public hearing of the committee, said the country stood the risk of losing the loan, should the National Assembly continue its probe on the project.
The PGF further commended the Transportation Minister for his commitment to job delivery and advised him to continue to push for developments in the South-South region.
“We are particularly happy to have someone like the Minister of Transportation, Rt.Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as our son, he has been championing developments in the region right from his days as governor and we know that he is fearless and would not allow anyone to deprive us from having the rail project.
“We commend his drive in project delivery particularly the Lagos-Ibadan railway, where over 20,000 workers were employed, we pray that he continues to push for the realization of the coastal rail without fear of intimidation by any person or group of persons that do not mean well for our people,” the statement said.