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Buhari Flags Off $1.9bn Nigeria To Niger Rail Project



President Muhammadu Buhari has on Tuesday flagged off the groundbreaking ceremony of Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi railway project with a branch line to Dutse in Jigawa State.

Speaking virtually from the State House in Abuja, the president said that the project, when completed, will enhance economic activities, particularly the trans-Saharan trade between the two countries.

The groundbreaking, which was held at Kwarin Tama village in Katsina State, was attended physically by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

Other dignitaries present include the Ministers of Interior, Information and Culture, Foreign Affairs, Heath, Science and Technology, the governors of Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, and Maradi in the Niger Republic.

Emirs of Katsina, Kano, Dutse, and top security heads of Nigeria and the Niger Republic were also in attendance.

The President while speaking urged private investors to take full advantage of the opportunity and engage in legitimate businesses aimed at transforming the nation’s economy.

President Buhari expressed;

The cities of Jibiya and Maradi constitute a significant trading core between Nigeria and the Niger Republic – a tradition dating back many centuries.

This vital infrastructure line will establish an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport services between northern and southern regions of the country, reaching Nigerian southern ports of Lagos and Warri.

He added;

The Kano–Maradi rail line has been identified as a viable line that will significantly enhance the movement of passengers and freight to the hinterland, especially raw materials from both agricultural and mineral resources for our industries.

The project, when completed, would serve the import and export of goods to the Niger Republic and other countries in the sub-region through Nigerian ports. The country would earn revenue through expansion of trade and commerce, while the people of Niger Republic will benefit from the ease of transportation logistics at an affordable cost in their import and export business.

The connection to the Niger Republic through rail will also foster Trans-Sahara trade and contribute to the expected gains in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

In September, the federal executive council approved $1.96 billion for the Kano-Maradi rail project.

The 248km railway project will start from Kano, pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi.

Federal government had signed a memorandum of understanding with Mota-Engil Group, the railway project contractor. It said the Kano-Maradi railway project would be completed within 36 months.

Speaking on a Channels TV programme on Sunday, Amaechi said the funds for the railway project will be sourced from Europe.

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