Former Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar has denied any involvement in the award of contract for the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail Line contract.
Refuting a publication authored by Iyobosa Uwugioren titled “NRC’s Contract: we’re under pressure to stop probe, says House Committee” and published in the Saturday 7thNovember, 2015 edition of Thisday newspaper ( page 8) wherein the former Minister was mentioned to have been in the forefront of an alleged shady process for the award of the contract for the rehabilitation of Port-Harcourt-Kaduna and Kafanchan-Maiduguri rail line, his Media Aide, Innocent Ebirim, in a statement he issued in Abuja yesterday, said the “former minister after going through the story, the only option would have been to discard it as mere mischief but considering that in Nigeria, mere allegation taken is as good as guilt verdict; it became necessary to correct and clarify the falsehood”.
According to him, the process for the award of the contract for eastern corridor rail line from Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri leading to the issuance of award letters to respective contractors was concluded before the appointment of Senator Idris Umar as the Minister of Transport in 2011. “How could he have participated in the alleged rail contract process award that was concluded before his appointment as a Minister?The former Minister met the project at execution level and supervised the contract to successful conclusion and has no question to answer vis-à-vis the contract award process. The reporter should have cross- checked his facts before rushing to publication and this is very unfortunate” Ebirim queried.
Secondly, he said the former Minister was shocked and surprised with such strange expressions used by the writer such as “there is little or nothing to show for huge amounts on rail contract” because under his close watch and supervision, Lagos-Kano rail line; Port-Harcourt-Gombe rail line with branch line from Kafanchan-Kaduna and Zaria-Kaura Namoda rail lines were fully rehabilitated and commenced uninterrupted passenger and freight train services while the Idu (Abuja)-Kaduna standard gauge rail line reached 90% completion level with 100% track laying among other giant strides in rail projects.
Furthermore, Ebirim said the accomplishments in railway development by the last administration are still there for everyone to see insisting that every project executed followed due process.


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