By our reporter| The presidency on Thursday said Nigeria was not building any rail line to Niger Republic, noting that the plan was to construct the rail line up to the border Nigeria shares with the neighbouring country and not into the country itself.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu made the clarification in a series of Tweets on Thursday.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had on Wednesday said the Federal Executive Council approved $1.96bn for the construction of a rail line to link Kano, Dutse, Katsina and Maradi in Niger Republic.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party and other stakeholders questioned the rationae for the project, accusing the government of misplaced priority.
But responding to critics, Shehu wrote, “Nigeria isn’t building rail line into Niger but, only to the designated border point.
“An agreement between Nigeria and Niger in 2015, coordinated by the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation has a plan for Kano-Katsina-Maradi Corridor Master Plan, K2M as it is called.
“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 and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Water Resources as well as those of Kano and Katsina states.
“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.”