Nigeria’s Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun and Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, according to Thisday exchanged hot words in Beijing over the absence of Adeosun’s delegates for an important meeting with the China-Exim bank.
The two ministries were scheduled to meet with the Chinese bank to discuss the finance of several transportation projects in the country.
The misunderstanding between the ministers transpired when Adeosun did not hesitate to give Amaechi a piece of her mind for meddling in the travel arrangements of directors from her ministry to Beijing.
Her directors were forced to defer their trip and in the process missed their first meeting with officials of the China Exim Bank.
Reports say Adeosun, who was in transit from Davos to Abuja via London, was called in the British capital and asked to proceed to Beijing to hold discussions with the China Exim Bank on the bilateral loans offered by the Chinese government on a number of infrastructure projects in Nigeria, including the railway and airport rehabilitation projects.
She reportedly obtained a ticket to fly with Emirates Airline to Beijing from London and called her directors with the institutional knowhow on the bilateral loans and outstanding counterpart funding agreed between the China Exim Bank and the Nigerian government to join her in China.
But on the day of the meeting, her directors who were supposed to have arrived the day before were nowhere to be seen because they were prevented from boarding their Emirates Airline flight in Abuja.
Amaechi, according to a transportation ministry official, was scheduled to fly with his own team on the same flight from Abuja, but had taken umbrage over a contractor of his ministry who had been smuggled into the government delegation.
“On getting to the airport, Amaechi was angry that a contractor who had no business being on the trip had been included in the delegation.
“So he ordered his directors, those of the finance ministry and the contractor not to proceed on the trip. In the process, all of them including Amaechi missed their flight and had to buy tickets to depart Abuja in the evening on Lufthansa Airways.
“And since Lufthansa flies through Frankfurt, they missed the first meeting in the morning with the China Exim Bank.”
Adeosun was not happy about the incident and confronted Amaechi demanding to know why he had to offload her own directors if he had issues with his team.
“She made it abundantly clear that he had no business offloading her directors from the flight since they knew nothing about the travel arrangements of his team.
“She told him that due to his meddling, they had missed their first meeting at the Exim Bank,” he said.
It wasn’t confirmed if Amaechi apologised to Adeosun, but subsequent meetings with the China Exim Bank progressed without incident, the official said.