Chinese firms to set up locomotives workshop, plant in Nigeria — Hon Isiaka


You went to China recently to procure some locomotives for the Federal Government , at what stage are they now?
We need to merge both the design with the engineering, the track already being constructed by the CCECC, so, we have firmed up as per the specification and orders are being placed, like I said specification became a major thing, the speed, the environmental impact assessment carried out, the speed at which it travels, considering our environment we need to domesticate that. In China, we have some tracks, train travels about 365 kilometer per hour, sure that is not sustainable here in Nigeria, so we had to reduce to merge what we have in our own environment. In some areas we are going to have 165km/h which will be increased to 200km/h with time. Apparently, what this means is that you can travel from Abeokuta to Lagos within a very short period of time of about thirty minutes. So, we have the locomotives, wagons and the coaches. And to manufacture them to our specifications, orders had been placed. The Federal Government has also approved based on the success we recorded at the last engagement with the Chinese government and the manufacturers in February. Federal Government has equally approved additional 6.7 billion dollars be added to Ibadan and Kaduna, so it’s a very good move and steadily we are going. From 15 in numbers, because if you look at Kenya, who ordered for about 50 we only ordered for 15, but now with the progress which have made on our engagement and the agreement we reached, despite the fact that they may not reach  there  to come and establish their plant, ordered for 15-20 coaches but when we increase considerably, they have agreed they are coming to Nigeria to have a workshop, bring their experts, bring their materials and equipment, and then for local content purposes, we second Nigerians, our local people, who are youths to be part of it to understudy them. When they leave. We shall put Nigerians in charge. This is what we have achieved and established.
I was at your constituency recently and I saw the rail line being constructed along Ijoko, Abekoko, Kajola, Arepo, when will the rail line be placed?
The project has started for long. However, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and with the quality of leadership being exhibited by the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, everybody is  thirsty for this project to be completed on time. Don’t forget that my federal constituency between Lagos and Abeokuta, I have about 75 to 80 percent of that corridor falling within my federal constituency, the more reason I should be one of the major stakeholders and assist in every way, that I can support and my little intellectual capacity and make sure it comes to reality. By and large with the project, little challenge came up, up to Abeokuta they were to demolish about 1,004 houses, that is enormous.  Another challenge is that, successive governments, they had the plan but nobody ever thought it wise to acquire part of the root corridor for expansion into modernization, so everybody had already bought the land and built houses and I can tell you that, this is why it has been shifted to Ajebo side, so that minimal damage will be done and compensation will be paid.
There was this public hearing that you chaired on the need for government to address the menace of fuel tankers on Nigerian roads, Personally, I have witnessed the menace of these fuel tankers especially on our highways, what was the outcome of your committee’s assignment?
All these challenges are multi-dimensional, first instance what made us to use trucks in transportation of goods by roads? It’s all because the railway are is working and the issue of pipeline vandalism, no good network of pipeline distribution of petroleum products and the pressure is high on our roads, apparently this constitutes major menace to the damage on our roads and when the roads are damaged, these trucks still manage to pass through these roads despite the heavy loads they transport. And remember, many of these vehicles are not well maintained, so you see them become weary and losing chassis.  I once moved a motion on the articulated vehicles. This is also because we are so weak in one thing in the country, when articulated vehicles transport containers from one part of the country to another, they are not well latched to the vehicle and then, when they fall into pothole, these containers fall on moving vehicles which results in death, these are real challenges that we are facing in this country.. I also once moved a Bill on how to strengthen federal road maintenance agency in the country, which was approved and adopted by the two chambers and it is currently awaiting presidential assent. We should be proactive and not wait till things turn awry before we act. We should address issues before they degenerate and that’s why I said these challenges are multi-dimensional. We have the issues of roads, tankers and railways. Many of these goods, if they are transported by rail, will ease the pressure on our roads
How many motions have you moved and the bills that you have sponsored?
To God be the glory. Specifically about bills, I am the sole representative of Ogun state in the highest body of the National Assembly committee that is called constitution review, it is the most prominent and eminent committee of the National Assembly from both chambers. We treated 34 bills for the constitution amendment. This means for every section of the 34 bills, I can tell you I am an equal stakeholder. For bills, so far I have had nine, and still have intention of doing more. For contribution to bills in the hallowed chamber, out of almost all 3,000 bills and motions put together I am sure I must have participated in up to 700 to 1000. You know in the motion, there are front liner legs in the House that members would always look out for if they want to move motions or bills or perhaps want people to contribute and give values to their motions. Even me, I go out to reach to my colleagues, that’s what we called lobby. I am glad to tell you I’m one of people my colleagues always reach out to when they have motion and bills to sponsor. Out of minimum of 200 to 250 at a time in the chamber, so every day, if you have 50 people lobbying you too join them to speak about their motion or their bills, if you multiply that by minimum of 200 days that we sit then you know that out of 52 weeks, in a year, I can’t remember when I do not contribute to motion or bills in the chambers except when I’m out of the country or engaged in another legislative assignment. On the motions, we have what we called flagship; many of these motions really focus on the people, as a nation, as Ogun State and my federal constituency. Let me tell you some of the things that worked for me and aided my legislative duties and assignments. In the house we have a Professor, we also have a SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), the SAN sits directly beside me including the Prof. from Osun state.  I’ve been really relating well with my people. I have been to Uganda, the House sent me there on parliamentary conference, then policy and strategic leadership in Kuru, Jos. On the economic security and development in the National Assembly, I have been seconded, Intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary relations in Abuja. Offshore training conference because of PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill). I am an active participant because I am an active and vibrant member of upstream committee, a vibrant one for that matter and  based on my experience, because of my background from oil and gas,  the house always taps on this whenever the need arises. I have travelled around the world. South Africa, U.S.A the United Kingdom on behalf of the House and the nation and many times in Dubai purposely because of this and you can see the result is coming out. PIB, the first and second legs have been passed. It remains just the last leg. On the modern slavery and human trafficking. I addressed United Kingdom parliament and I spoke on human trafficking, domestic servitude and forced labour in Nigeria and how it affects our youths and the way out. And together, we moved a motion with my colleagues on this. In this country, we have the biggest FPSO which is in Lagos. It’s called Regina. It’s the biggest floating production and offloading storage facility. It costs 16 billion dollars, very soon, she will start production at 200,000 barrel per day
The crisis in the Niger Delta region, I am the chairman on the production of shell, and their relocation and offshore. I am a member of the investigation of 17 billion US dollars’ worth of crude that they have taken out of Nigeria. On the refineries, I moved a motion on the state of refineries in the country and investigation is on-going on the state of refineries.
Together with the leader of the house, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, we moved a motion for declaration of state of emergency on youth unemployment in the country. About Sango-Abeokuta motor road how dilapidated it is, I moved a motion on the floor and I personally wrote a letter to the President which he replied and copied the Hon, Minister for Power Works and Housing,  and the Minister wrote to me that very soon they will do the road. I am a member of FERMA, if you look at Ifo axis in Lagos- Abeokuta express way, you will notice that some areas are being patched it’s my handiwork. I also engaged the presidency on Owode-Ijako area even though it’s not part of my constituency.  Also at Wasinmi, there is construction of drainage going on there to divert the flood water, From Pakoto to Abeokuta, you can now travel comfortably and conveniently. The ongoing work in the area is also my handiwork.  That falls under my constituency and I have used my office to favour my people. They kidnapped some of our children in Isheri, with the help of my friend, chairman of the security committee, we moved there and four days later, those children were released. Talking about international airport at Wasinmi, since 2005 that the project has started my Governor has been working on how it can commence, from the house I moved  a motion and the from there it went to compliance and I gave the committee on aviation the resolution of the house and you can see that work has commenced on the airport.
What have you done for your people as a federal lawmaker?
The first thing I did when I came in was to engage the youths, because I noticed there’s a dearth of welders and fitters in my area, you know we have a lot of piping work, gas line and others, so they always go to Warri, Port Harcourt to bring in people that will do the job, so I have to engage the youths, on that alone I spent N25million, I engaged them and made sure they are qualified .I bought welding machines for them after training.
I personally funded seventeen projects from my pocket, not intervention, I bought500KVA transformer for the people of Wasinmi because for a period of one year and nine months, there was no electricity in the area. I installed and commissioned it. Also between Agbado, Toyin  it used to be very bad I spent a lot of money to make it motorable but failed after a while because I couldn’t do drainage because I did all this from my personal purse. Also in Ajuwon, Ayawo-ele community in Ifo, I provided potable motorized borehole with generator and elevator tank for them. At Matogun community, I gave them water because they said that’s what they need. At Ibogun community there are 35 villages that market in this community with no water, so I gave them elevated tank with water and generator servicing them. In Ifo, I also provided water for them. Also in Otei community along Ilaro, I also gave them water because its lacking and they are drinking from the stream. At Akinjole community, that one moved me so much because the traditional ruler and elders of the community sent for me and I went there. They used to get water by crossing the expressway and many hit and run-vehicles have killed many of their children while searching for water. I also gave them water. I cried when I commissioned the water because an elderly woman came out and said so it’s possible in her lifetime that somebody would give them water to stop their children from being killed on the express road while searching for water. I was crying as the woman was crying. It was a cry of joy. Also, at Seriki I’m planning to support them with motorized rig. I’ve done pre medical services several times. I also gave desk  and class-room to our children in schools and also our teachers including gift of generators for them. I also gave out a primary health care with full bed and other equipment at Lambe. At Abule Owu community, I donated a block of classroom and VIP toilet.
All these are personally funded projects. Talking about intervention projects, I’ve done erosion control at Ososu Community, and toilet and classroom at Itori, I’ve given out a lot of motorcycles, tricycles to a lot of people, grinding machines, sewing machines and many more. I installed solar street light, at Olorunda, Wasinmi, and three locations in Ifo and also in Agbara. I also supplied transformers including 500KVA.
I also gave out ICT computer centres to our secondary schools students which can take care of the entire Ifo local government. I also bought computer accessories and equipment which I’m going to give all the students in Ifo and Ewekoro federal constituency. Eight primary schools in Ifo and Ewekoro had been given sporting equipment.
Since 1999, only one Rep member returned to the House in that constituency, why are you planning to return to the House?
Everything is in the hands of God. I also believe it is a call to service, I’ve also done a lot of empowerment programme. In my constituency, I have covered seventeen wards and remain just four wards, if you say seventeen over twenty one I think that’s a credit. My appeal to the people is that if you are having turn over you can never get the best out of any legislator. As a first timer, someone asked me the secret of the success I’m recording, the first thing I always do is the password of whatever I do.  Once I get the password, I always aim towards it. I’m being driven with my love for the people and passion, with few that I’ve done I want them to expect more. I want them to support me for more quality representation. My people need to know legislator gets better with time and a second term legislator is a ranking member of the House and eminently qualified to become Principal Officer of the House and this means more benefits for the people.