Former President Goodluck Jonathan whose political Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kickstarted the re-rail Nigeria project (left) with President Muhammadu Buhari
- Major Nigerian cities have no rail presence
- Nigeria-Niger looks like a dead corridor
- Misplaced investment of sorts, investment expert
Even when some major Nigerian cities have no rail line presence this 21st century, the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved $1,959,744,723.71 for the construction of a rail line that will link Nigeria to Niger Republic.
Information reaching our newsroom has it that the approval was given at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was presided over by the Buhari. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, after the meeting told State House correspondents that the sum approved for the development of the proposed rail line linking Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Jibia and to Maradi in Niger Republic. The approval, he said is inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT). Amaechi said apart from that, the council also approved the award of a contract worth N3.049 billion for the design, manufacture, supply, testing, and commissioning of one railway crane for the purposes of clearing rail tracks in situations of accidents.
Considering the challenges Nigerians face on road travel on daily bases, experts believe that Nigeria should concentrate in linking major cities across the country by rail before thinking of linking Niger Republic, which is another struggling country that may not offer much to Nigeria. “How can we be borrowing money to link Nigeria by rail to Niger Republic…of what benefit is that to our economy? Can you imagine how much this country would be making in a day if the federal government Links Lagos to Onitsha by rail? In five to 10 years, that corridor would repay the cost of investment but a Nigeria to Niger Republic rail for me is not the best of investment especially now that every economy is struggling under COVID-19,” a transport analyst who would not want his name in prints told our reporter.