President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday justified the extension of the Kano-Katsina-Jibiya rail line to Maradi in Niger Republic, saying the project when completed will boost trade between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Buhari, who spoke at the virtual ground breaking for the Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi rail line, also directed the Ministries of Transportation and Finance to conclude financial plans for the execution of the West-East coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar.
The president, according to a release by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, noted that the cities of Jibiya and Maradi constitute a significant trading core between Nigeria and 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.
“The entire route encompasses territory inhabited by close to 80 million people across 10 states of the country. This project has a branch line to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State, to open up this corridor which is endowed with vast resources,’’ he said.
He stated that 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 rail line traverses the major commercial and administrative centre of Kano and passing through other economic hubs of the country including Kazaure, Daura, Katsina and up to the border town of Jibiya and the Niger Republic city of Maradi,” the president stated.
Buhari said the Kano-Maradi project, when completed, would serve as import and export of goods for 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 ease of transportation logistics at affordable cost in their import and export business.
“The connection to Niger Republic through rail will also foster Trans-Sahara trade and contribute to the expected gains in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement,’’ he said.
The president used the forum to direct the Ministries of Transportation and Finance to conclude financial arrangements with appropriate co-financiers that will partner with the federal government for construction of West-East coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar, linking some major cities in the South-east and South-south.
According to him, the West-East coastal rail line will connect Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenegoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.