The federal government has come under fire for its intention to build a train line between Nigeria with the Niger Republic; the project has been dubbed a “misplaced priority” by some.
Despite the fact that the rail line will finish at Nigeria’s border with Niger and not continue within the nation, according to presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, many opposed to it still think the $1.96 billion expenditure is not justified.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one of those who has voiced opposition to the project and in reaction claimed that “the problem of this regime is that it has never got its priorities right.”
In a media interview, PDP spokesman Kola Ologbindiyan questioned, “What is the economic benefit of this initiative to Nigeria?”
It’s interesting to note that the rail project was first conceptualized in 2013 under the PDP administration.
A train line will be built from Zaria in Kaduna state to Niamey, the nation of Niger Republic’s capital, according to plans made public by the administration of the time’s president, Goodluck Jonathan.
The announcement’s maker, then-Vice President Namadi Sambo, had stated that the rail line will pass through the states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Kebbi.
Sambo had informed the emir of Zazzau during his visit that the rehabilitation of the train line from Zaria to Kauran Namoda had started.
I’m equally pleased to announce that rail service between Kano and Lagos is currently in operation.
“The survey on the new rail line from Kauran Namoda to Sokoto to Birnin Kebbi has begun. We hope to link the rail line to Niamey in Niger Republic.”
The Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation, which oversaw the deal reached in 2015 between the two countries, organized the initiative, which has since gained new attention.
How much does it help Nigeria?
Shehu has stated that the rail will assist both nations in utilizing agricultural products, mineral resources, and raw materials.
“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,” he said.