Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, has explained the economic reason the Federal Government is extending a rail line from Kano to Niger Republic.
Speaking on an NTA programme on Friday, Mohammed said the project was conceived to enable Nigeria take advantage of opportunities available in Niger Republic, Chad and Burkina Fasso.
He explained that the West African countries were landlocked and Nigeria would benefit from becoming a route for their import and export activities. Hence the decision to construct the rail line.
“I think there has been a lot of disinformation and total lack of information over the linking of Lagos, Kano, Katsina railway to Marradi,” said the Minister.
“The wisdom behind it is that Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso are all landlocked countries meaning that they do not have access to sea.
“What this means is that most of their imports and exports have to go through neighbouring countries’ seaports like Cotonou in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.
“Because we do not have a road infrastructure that will encourage Niger Republic to use our seaports, we believe that we will be able to take over their imports and exports with the rail linkage.
“The simple reason, therefore, is to strengthen the economy of Nigeria.
“For now, Niger Republic used seaport of Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana and the exporters go through the stress, challenges and time of being on the road from Cotonou, Lome or Accra to their country.
“But by the time we link them with rail line, it will be easier for us to take over the business.
“There is nothing like territorial expansion, it is purely economic. We are taking advantage of the proximity and efficiency of rail system.”
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