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Following Tuesday’s flag off of the construction activities for the Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail line with branch line from Kano by President Muhammadu Buhari, many Nigerians have continued to ask questions on the preference of the international scheme over several abandoned internal rail projects including the Lagos-Calabar railway.
Business Hilights recalls that the President, in a virtual ceremony monitored in Abuja Tuesday justified the decision of his regime to construct a rail line linking Nigeria with Niger Republic despite criticisms that trailed the announcement of the plan.
According to him, connecting Niger Republic through rail would, among other benefits, foster trans-Sahara trade and contribute to the expected gains in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Buhari made the justification while presiding over the groundbreaking for the commencement of the rail line from the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The rail line is known as Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail line with branch line from Kano. Describing the rail line as ‘another vital transportation infrastructure’, Buhari noted that it traversed the major commercial and administrative centre of Kano and passes through other economic hubs including Kazaure, Daura, Katsina and up to the border town of Jibiya and the Niger Republic city of Maradi. According to the President, the cities of Jibiya and Maradi constitute a significant trading core between Nigeria and Niger Republic, adding that the tradition dated back many centuries.
Buhari said, “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.