From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua
The federal government has commenced the construction of the Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Maradi rail line to boost international trade in the West Africa sub-region.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the rail line, President Muhammadu Buhari said the project will be completed within 36 months.
The President, who made a virtual appearance at the event, said the 283 kilometer Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Maradi rail line would improve trade and economic ties in the west Africa sub-region.
He said the standard guage rail line will be built along the LA-KA-JI trade corridor which proceeds from Lagos to Kano to Katsina up to Maradi State in Niger Republic, passing through many states and towns situated along the corridor.
The President noted that dry ports will be built along major terninals of the rail line to facilitate smooth imports and exports between Nigeria and Niger Republic as well as other countries in the sub-region.
“The rail infrastructure development program of his administration will create nationwide interconnectivity, thereby facilitating trade, commerce and ease of transport within the country.
“The federal government is also developing a train network in the Eastern axis of the countey which will connect cities such as Port Harcourt, Enugu, Maiduguri and Damaturu as well as the East-West coast rail line which will connect Lagos, Port Harcourt, Yenegoa and Warri.
The President explained that the projects will achieve an appreciable level of completion before the tenure of the current administration lapses in 2023.
He urged the local and international business community to take advantage of the ongoing infrastructure development in Nigeria’s rail transport sector by investing in production, trade and commerce.
In his remarks, the Governor of Maradi State in Niger Republic, Alhaji Zakari Oumaru noted that the Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Maradi rail line will ease tran-saharan trade and boost bilateral relations among West African cou countries.
While giving a background of the rail project, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi said the 283 kilometer rail line will be constructed at the cost of $1.9 billion.
He said the Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Maradi rail project will enhance interconnectivity between major commercial hubs across the country with the objective of boosting trade and commerce.
In his speech, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said the state government is building an industrial hub along the Katsina-Jibia road to tap into the potentials of the rail project.
In an interview with newsmen at the sidelines of the event, Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State said inland ports in cities along the rail line will serve as shipment points for cargoes therby creating thousands of jobs along the LA-KA-JI trade corridor.
He commended the Buhari-led administration for its foresight in developing rail and roads infrastructure across the country that will boost the country’s economy in the long run.