The Presidency, on Thursday, September 25, made further clarifications over reports that the rail line construction by Government was intended to build a rail line into the Niger Republic.
Government said the project will rather terminate at the border between both countries.
This clarification by the Presidency was issued via the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, on his Twitter handle.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, told State House correspondents on Wednesday that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved $1.96bn for the construction of a rail line to link Kano; Dutse; Katsina; and Maradi in the Niger Republic.
He said: “The second one (approval) is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Matadi rail line in the Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa; for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.”
However, the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other stakeholders accused the government of misplaced priority.
But the Presidency reiterated that the plan was to construct the rail line up to the border between Nigeria; as well as the neighbouring West African nation.
He 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; also 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; as well as 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.”