Experts see Niger Rep as first neighbour to link by rail
Though the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday announced plans by the Federal Government to build international rail lines that would connect Nigeria with neighbouring countries without mentioning any country, industry experts have fingered Niger Republic.
Maritime analysts who barred their mind with Business Hilights correspondents in Lagos argued that Niger Republic remains the Nigerian neighbor in the hinterland with the closest proximity to the sea from Nigeria.
But the irony is that whereas Nigeria is the closest link for Niger to the sea, majority of the country’s export and import activities are done using Benin Republic due to ease of doing business at Benin Republic ports.
However, analysts are upbeat that with ongoing reforms and a standard gauge rail link possibly from Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home town to Niger Republic, the narrative will change to the use of Nigerian ports at a cheaper and closer access.
The minister had made the revelation at a seminar in Abuja, regretting that the poor state of Nigeria’s transport sector was mainly due to the absence of a national transportation policy since the country got independence in 1960.
Amaechi however, disclosed that the current administration is now working on a 25-year railway master plan which will attempt to link up some neighbours to grow inter-regional trade and relations.