KanyiDaily recalls that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved $1.96bn for the construction of a rail line to link Kano, Dutse, Katsina and Maradi in Niger Republic.
Following the public outcry tailing the announcement of the rail project, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, took to his Twitter page and made clarifications anout the project.
According to him, the plan was to construct the rail line up to the border Nigeria shares with Niger Republic, and not into the country itself.
“Nigeria isn’t building rail line into Niger but, only to the designated border point,” Shehu said.
“An agreement between Nigeria and Niger in 2015, coordinated by the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation has a plan for Kano-Katsina-Maradi Corridor Master Plan, K2M as it is called.
“Going by this, the two nations would each build a rail track to meet at the border town of Maradi.
“Nigerian delegates to that meeting comprised officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Boundaries Commission, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Water Resources as well as those of Kano and Katsina States.
“The objective of the rail is the harnessing of raw materials, mineral resources and agricultural produce.
“When completed, it will serve domestic industries and play the role of a viable transportation backbone to the West African subregion, starting with the neighbouring Niger Republic for their export and import logistic chain.”
This is coming amidst controversy on how the Nigerian Government will pay back loans collected from China for the construction of rail projects within the country.