- The Kano-Maradi rail line had sparked controversy when the contract was signed and announced to Nigerians
- Many Nigerians have been questioning the economic benefits of the project to the country
- President Buhari has outlined what Nigeria stands to gain with the completion of the project
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed why his administration is building rail to the neighbouring Niger Republic.
The president stated that the completion of the Kano-Maradi rail line, will amongst other outcomes, create revenue for Nigeria, and enable the people of Niger Republic to enjoy affordable transportation.
He made the comment while performing a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the standard gauge rail line.
A statement from the presidency seen by Legit.ng quoted the president as saying:
“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 an affordable cost in their import and export business.”
Recall that the minister of transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi had said when linked with the Lagos-Kano rail line, the Kano-Maradi route will generate higher traffic volumes and revenue.
Some Nigerians have been commenting on the commencement of the project via Twitter.
Umar Maidabino Isyak wrote:
“What a milestone in the history of the Nigerian railway system. Keep recording your works with gold ink, my president. You shall succeed in whatever is best for Nigeria, Amin.”
Olalere Babasola wrote:
“That doesn’t justify putting Nigeria into debt to construct a rail line for Niger Republic when you haven’t linked Sokoto to Kano by rail. If it’s of benefit to Niger Republic, let them link Maradi, Zinder, Niamey, and even Agadez to Nigeria.”
Seth Atubi wrote:
“The unnecessary rail you're connecting with Niger without Niger contributing a dime is too shameful for this government.”
Bakare Olamide wrote:
“Significant trading core! Please explain. What's the percentage of projected 2021 revenue will come trade between Nigeria and the Niger Republic.”
In a related development, Tolu Ogunlesi, the special assistant to President Buhari on digital and new media, has listed the five major rail infrastructure and investment of the current administration.
Ogunlesi, an accomplished communicator, and public policy expert before his foray into governance took to his Twitter page to list the projects.
He listed the projects to include:
1. 2016 - Completed Abuja-Kaduna rail
2. 2017 - Started Lagos-Ibadan rail (completing in 2021)
3. 2018 - Completed phase 1 of Abuja Metro
4. 2020 - Completed Itakpe-Warri rail and
5. 2021 - Commenced Kano-Maradi rail
Meanwhile, passengers plying the Abuja-Kaduna train route can now heave a sigh of relief as e-ticketing services have now commenced.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) announced the commencement of e-ticketing for train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route recently.