The impact of fake news on Nigeria and Ghana Railway Ministries


…..As Ghana withdraws from MoU with CRCC-Nigeria over Fake News

The Ministry of Railways Development in Accra, Ghana has withdrawn from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it earlier signed in March 2019 with the China Railway Construction Corporation (international) CRCC Nigeria Limited because of alleged breach of confidentiality.

The swift pull out from the MoU, it was discovered to have been ignited by a popular online publication (name withheld) which claimed: “CRCC to construct 560km railway line for $2bn – same cost as 156km Lagos –Ibadan rail.”

The Ghanaian authority was infuriated with the publication, claiming that it has not signed any contract with CRCC-Nigeria on rail project, thereby calling off any MoU it had with latter.

A letter signed by the Ghanaian’s minister of Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, which was addressed to the managing director of CRCC-Nigeria, decried the media publication, saying it contained “a lot of factual inaccuracies.”

H added that the picture attached to the said publication was from an event that was unrelated in any way with engagement with CRCC-Nigeria, represented by its Managing Director, Mr. Dou Yisup. For these infractions, Ghartey said the Ghanaian authority did not want to proceed with the relationship between the parties as established by the non-binding MoU.

The MoU was signed by both the officials of Ghanaian’s Ministry of Railway Departments and Messrs CRCC.

While disproving the publication, Ghartey said it was true that Messrs CRCC-Nigeria expressed interest in supporting the ministry to develop and modernize Ghana’s railway network, particularly the Trans-ECOWAS line, which runs along the coast between Aflao, on the border with Togo, and Elubo on the border with Cote d’Ivoire. According to Ghartey, the purpose of the MoU was for CRCC-Nigeria to undertake feasibility studies through the use of independent consultants, adding that the company was responsible for verifying the project cost as estimated by the feasibility studies and also raised capital to finance the project. Up till now, the minister said CRCC-Nigeria has not submitted any report talk less of stating the project cost.

He said: “CRCC-Nigeria has not submitted any report of the feasibility studies to the Ministry of Railways Development, let alone the project cost estimate,” adding that the ministry has not received any offer from CRCC-Nigeria for the construction of the proposed Aflao-Elubo railway line and that it is yet to respond to a proposal by CRCC to establish assembly plants for the building of locomotive coaches and wagons.

The Ghanaian’s Minister of Railways Department indicted CRCC-Nigeria, stating that as a party to the MOU, it has failed to act in good faith, having breached the confidentiality clause as spelt out by the MoU.

The confidentiality clause, he said: “Each party agrees that the terms of MoU and all previous and subsequent discussions, documents and information exchanged pursuant to or otherwise related hereto will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed except as required by law and otherwise.”

“The Ministry of Railways Department therefore does not intend to proceed with the relationship between the two parties as established by the non-binding MoU.”

Following this development, it is however being rumored in some quarters that the main target of this fake news is the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the aim of which is to deny him from being reappointed by President Mohammadu Buhari.

By John Macdonald Esien

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