FG APPROVES $1.9Bn RAIL LINE LINKING NIGERIA TO NIGER
The Federal Government on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, approved $1.9bn for the construction of a railway line that will link Nigeria to Niger Republic.
The approval was granted at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senior Special Assistant to the President Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed in a statement.
"The rail line will connect 3 states: Kano, Katsina & Jigawa. It moves from Kano to Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, terminating in Maradi, Niger Republic. This financially empowers Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger," the President's media aide said.
FEC Approves $1.96bn Kano-Maradi Railway:
"The rail line will connect 3 states: Kano, Katsina & Jigawa. It moves from Kano to Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, terminating in Maradi, Niger Republic. This financially empowers Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger." pic.twitter.com/aZVMoab95z
— Ajuri Ngelale (@AjuriNgelale) September 23, 2020
Speaking to the press after the FEC meeting, the minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi said the total sum approved is inclusive of VAT.
Amaechi said the FEC also approved a N3.049 billion contract for the design, manufacture, supply, testing, and commissioning of one railway crane for the purposes of clearing rail tracks in situations of accidents.
“The council approved the two memos for the Ministry of Transportation. The first one is the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply and testing.
It also includes the commissioning of one railway crane of 150 ton capacity for emergency and recovery of rolling stocks.
“This is to sort out say situations of an accident on the track. The total cost is N3, 049,544,000. That’s the first memo that FEC approved for the Ministry of Transportation.
“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in the Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.”
Several Nigerians have taken to social media to react to the reports of the approval for the construction of the railway line.
Hamma Hayatu, a Public Affairs Commentator, critiquing the development, said he does not see why the Federal Government should construct a $1.9bn railway to Niger because the Federal Government is not importing any product from the country.
“Why is Buhari so obsessed about Niger republic? What do we import from Niger that we will take a loan to do a rail line connecting Nigeria to Niger, it would have been better if it was Cotonou we are linking,” he said.
Dr Joe Abah, Nigeria's former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, took to his official Twitter handle and said; "Why Niger Republic? I don’t understand."
Also, a Security and Intelligence Expert, Nnamdi Chime, took to his official Twitter handle and said the Federal Government should divert the $1.9bn to erecting structures and special joint operations that would assist the country in combating Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in Northern Nigeria.
He tweeted; “The $1.9Billion rail expansion to Niger REPUBLIC should be diverted to setting up SPECIAL JOINT OPERATIONS DIVISION to tackle Boko Haram and Banditry in the North East and North West respectively. It is a waste of money this rail project.”