Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the groundbreaking ceremony of the $1.9 billion Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic railway project.President Buhari said during the virtual ceremony from the State House in Abuja on Tuesday that the project, when completed, would enhance economic activities, particularly the trans-Saharan trade between the two West African countries.
He called on private investors to take advantage of the opportunity by the rail project and engage in legitimate businesses aimed at transforming the Nigerian nation’s economy.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony held at Kwarin Tama village in Katsina State, Nigeria’s Transportation Minister Chibuike Amaechi said that the project, which was conceived in 2015 would extend 25-kilometer into Niger Republic.
He explained that the entire network of the project has 15 railway stations of different categories with major stations of approximately 3,000 filed passenger capacity in the cities of Kano and Katsina.
According to him, there will be stations of standard category in Kazaure, Daura, Jibia, and Dutse with minor stations in Danbatta, Shargalle, and Mashi as well as power stations in Gunya, Kano Airport, Muduru, Daddara and at Hannun Mata and Maradi in Niger Republic.
He added that the project will reach its substantial completion in the year 2023 and that the route, when linked with the ongoing Lagos-Kano railway project on completion, will generate higher traffic volumes and revenue.
Local media reports on Tuesday said that the event was attended physically by many dignitaries, including the Ministers of Interior, Information and Culture, Foreign Affairs, Heath, Science and Technology, the governors of Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, and Maradi in the Niger Republic.
The railway project is expected to connect three Northern states of Kano, Katsina, and Jigawa and terminate at Maradi, Niger Republic.
According to the reports, the rail line is expected to financially empower Nigeria as the import and export hub for the Niger Republic and help the country compete favourably with other coastal West African countries in facilitating trade with the region’s landlocked countries.