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The Federal Executive Council (FEC), had on Wednesday approved a $1.96 billion contract for the development of a rail line from Kano to Niger Republic.
The rail line according to the government will go through Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi in Niger Republic.
Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation while announcing the rail line project told journalists at the end of the FEC meeting that the rail line when completed is expected to aid the transportation of crude oil.
But Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari in a series of tweets in reaction to the controversy generated by the project posted on his official Twitter handle Thursday evening said the country isn’t building a 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 the “Kano-Katsina-Maradi Corridor Master Plan, (K2M)” as it is called.”
He said 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 & Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Water Resources as well as those of Kano and Katsina states,” Shehu explained.
“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.”