SAN FRANCISCO, January 23, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has assured that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will resolve issues in the Niger Delta, but asserted that this would not be done by dolling out money to politically-exposed persons as was the case in the past.
The former Rivers governor, who stated this in an interview with Arise TV, said, “The conversation on Niger Delta is ongoing; recently, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was in Niger Delta to continue with the dialogue. And President Buhari is committed to resolving the issues.
“But, unlike in the past, where the political elite were interfacing with the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the Presidential Amnesty Office and sharing money meant for the development of the region, we will invest in infrastructure development and capacity building in the area.”
Moving on to dismiss reports that Buhari is ill, Amaechi said he did not believe in discussing his medical history, but pointed out that, “last Sunday, the president stood for one hour; if he was not fit, he would have collapsed”.
The President is currently holidaying in the United Kingdom, UK, where he is also expected to undergo medical check-up, and this has raised concerns among Nigerians on the state of the president’s health.
The minister then disclosed that he will soon embark on a 10-day vacation, adding that when he commences his own vacation, he will also undergo medical check-up.
“I do not think we should discuss president’s medical history. What are we worrying about? I will soon go for 10 days’ vacation, during which I will go for medical check-up,” he said.
Amaechi also gave reason for the present economic recession in the country, blaming the downturn essentially on the corruption of the previous government.
He said, “We are in recession because when former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was leaving office, he left $68 billion in foreign reserve.
“What happened to the $68 billion? Don’t forget we were in recession in 2009; we have forgotten that the then President Yar’Adua had to go to excess crude account to take a billion dollars every month to fund the economy.
“By the time Yar’Adua died, about $48 billion was left in the excess crude account. They said the Governors’ Forum said they should share the money; fine. They should also ask why the governors said they should share the money.
“At that time we used to hold monthly Economic Council Meeting. The constitution says there must be at least one economic council meeting every month. Under the watch of former President Goodluck Jonathan, they stopped the meeting.
“Do you know why they stopped it? Because any time we come for the meeting, $48 billion will come down to $47 billion and when we ask, they will tell us the President said they should use it.”