By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja
THE Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Republic of Niger on the Kano-Maradi rail line.
The MoU was signed by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, and the Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Niger, Alma Oumarou, who represented his country, in Abuja
Sambo stressed the importance of the Nigeria-Niger Republic rail line, reaffirming that the project will boost trade and other socio-economic interaction between both countries and in the continent.
The Minister noted that the rail line, which will start from Kano State in Nigeria and end at Maradi in Niger Republic, will facilitate the realization of the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which Nigeria and Niger Republic are signatory to.
“I am aware that people have blood relationship across the borders, so the project will expand historical cultural relationship between the people of Nigeria and those of Niger Republic.
“The project is also very important in enhancing inter-nation and continental trade,” the Minister added.
On the implementation of the project, the Minister said a Technical Committee would be set up within seven days in accordance with Article 3 of the MoU, adding that nomination of members and inauguration of the Technical Committee would be concluded by the first week of February 2023.
According to him, after their inauguration, the Technical Committee will take charge of the facilitation and implementation of the project.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Niger, Alma Oumarou corroborated that the rail project will promote inter-nation as well as continental trade, strengthen cultural ties between the two countries and create jobs.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said work has been ongoing on the Kano-Maradi rail line for the past two years.
She added that the signing of the MoU would expedite the completion of the project.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as part of its commitment to link the entire country by rail, Monday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2021 with Mota-Engil Group for the construction of US$1.959 billion Kano-Maradi Standard gauge railway line.
The new railway corridor which is to be located in northern Nigeria will run through Kano, Jigawa and Katsina states and through Niger Republic territory as far as Maradi. Other cities to benefit directly from the passage of the rail route are Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya in Kano and Katsina states.
Vanguard Media Limited, Nigeria.