asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he had any official information showing that the construction of the railway in Southern Nigeria is proceeding economically and satisfactorily, especially in view of a recent report of the auditor that it is no exaggeration to say that thousands of pounds' worth of material have been lost to the Government; whether these deficiencies have occurred under the governorship of Sir Walter Egerton; and whether there is a more recent auditor's report of such a character as to restore the public confidence?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)
The construction of the Southern Nigeria Railway extension may be said to be practically complete as far as Jebba, and it is anticipated that the last completed section of this extension (i.e., the section from Illorin to Jebba) will be completed within the estimate. Construction north of Jebba towards Zungeru has not yet proceeded far enough for reliable comparison between actual and estimated expenditure, but it is anticipated that there will be a considerable excess owing partly to labour difficulties and partly to the country proving more difficult than was anticipated. I should be glad if my hon. Friend could give me a precise reference to the report of the auditor referred to, I shall then be in a better position to deal with the last part of this question.
Mr. CATHCART WASON
Has the right hon. Gentleman received any information, from whatever source, of any lack of public confidence in Sir Walter Egerton?
§ Colonel SEELY
I do not know that this arises on the question, but, since the hon. Gentleman has asked, I may say at once that we have no reason to doubt that there is the fullest confidence in Sir Walter Egerton.