…Says 80million Nigerians To Benefit
As parts of his administration’s transformation agenda in the transport sector, to link the entire country by rail, President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the $1.96billion Kano-katsina-Jibiya- Maradi rail line project.
The rail line is said to traverse the major commercial and administrative centre of Kano, and passes through other economic hubs of the country including Kazaure, Daura, Katsina and up to the border town of Jibiya and the Niger Republic city of Maradi.
Speaking virtually during the Groundbreaking ceremony of the rail line project in Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari said the Kano-Maradi rail line connecting Niger Republic would foster Trans-Sahara trade and contribute immensely in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The president further said that the vital infrastructure line would 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.
He noted that the entire route encompasses territory inhabited by close to 80 million people across 10 states of the country. The project has a branch line to Dutse the capital of Jigawa state to open up this corridor which is endowed with vast resources.
According to the President, the project when completed, would serve import and export of goods for Niger Republic and other countries in the sub-region through Nigerian ports. 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 affordable cost in their import and export business.
He noted that construction company handling this project, Messrs Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited was supporting knowledge and technology transfer by investing in the establishment of a learning Institution for Transportation and Railway Science, while commending the gesture.
“We have in the rail sector embarked on the completion of the 1,424 Kilometer Lagos – Kano rail line to join the one being flagged-off today for the country’s Western axis.
“On the Eastern corridor of the country, the Port Harcourt – Enugu – Makurdi – Maiduguri rail line with branches to Owerri, Imo state and Damaturu, Yobe state have been awarded for reconstruction to include a deep sea port in Bonny Island and a Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt with the objectives of achieving a vibrant and functional railway infrastructure in the Eastern part of the country”.
He added that “the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance have been directed to vigorously act on engagement and concluding financial arrangement with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar and linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenegao, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo”.
Also, in his welcome address, the Minister of Transportation Honourable Rotimi Amaechi said the approximately 284Km traversing Kano – Dambatta – Kazaure – Shargelle – Mashi – Daura – Katsina – Jibiya – Maradi will move passengers in cities of Kano and Katsina and stations of standard category in Kazaure, Daura, Jibiya and Dutse and minor stations in Dambatta, Shargelle and Mashi as well as halt stations in Kunya, Kano airport, Muduru, Dadara and in Niger Republic at Annol Mata and Maradi.
The Minister gave an assurance that the project will reach a substantial completion in year 2023 when it will be ready to handle passenger and freight daily traffic forecast of 9,364 passengers and approximately 3,000 metric tons of freight on return trips between Kano and Maradi.
Amaechi said “There is no doubt that this route when linked with the ongoing Lagos – Kano railway project on completion, will generate higher traffic volumes and revenue.”
He further disclosed that President Buhari has approved the development of other railway infrastructure and related projects that are of significance to the nation’s socio-economic development and bring the Nigerian economy to become a key player in the region and globally.
“The objective here is to establish railway network that is sustainable and strong to serve as a transportation backbone and open a new path to positive economic transformation,” he stated.
Chief Executive Officer, Mota-Engil, Manuel Mota, described the project as competitive opportunity for the firm considering its vast experience in railway projects.
Speaking on the economic benefits, he said the fact that the connecting country, Niger would be connected to the Sea in eight hours or less, it has a huge impact on competitive business of the capacity to import and export.
Similarly, the state Governors of Katsina, Kano and Jigawa, Aminu Masari, Abdullahi Ganduje and Mohammed Abubakar respectively commended federal government’s foresight in sighting a major railway project that would link their states and Maradi region, in Niger Republic.
The governors said the project, when completed, would enhance the socio-economic development of the three areas.