Why we embarked on Nigeria-Niger rail project – FG
The Federal Government of Nigeria has given reasons why it embarked on the much criticised Nigeria-Niger Relubluc rail line, saying it was to boost trade and other socio-economic interactions between both countries and in the continent.
It gave the explanation in a statement signed by Henshaw Ogubike, Director, Press & Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation, stating that the Minister, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, said the project was critical to both countries and Africa at large.
Sambo (middle) displaying a copy of the MoU
According to the statement, Sambo while signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the project between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger in Abuja, stressed that the project would enhance inter-nation and continental trade.
While Sambo signed for Nigeria, the Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Niger, Alma Oumarou, signed for his country.
Sambo noted that the rail line, which would start from Kano State in Nigeria and end at Maradi in Niger Republic, would facilitate the realization of the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which Nigeria and Niger Republic were signatories.
“I am aware that people have blood relationships across borders so the project will expand the historical and cultural relationship between the people of Nigeria and those of the Niger Republic. The project is also very important in enhancing inter-nation and continental trade”, the minister said.
Sambo exchanges MoU copies with Oumarou of Niger
On the implementation of the project, the minister said a Technical Committee would be set up within seven days in accordance with Article 3 of the MoU, adding that nomination of members and inauguration of the body would be concluded by the first week of February 2023.
According to him, after their inauguration, the Technical Committee would take charge of the facilitation and implementation of the project.
The Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Niger, Oumarou, also corroborated that the rail project would promote inter-nation as well as continental trade, strengthen cultural ties between the two countries and create jobs.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said work had been ongoing on the Kano-Maradi rail line for the past two years, adding that the signing of the MoU would expedite the completion of the project.