Buhari Flags Off Kano-Maradi $1.96bn Standard Gauge Rail Line

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President Muhammadu Buhari has performed the groundbreaking for the commencement of the construction of $1.96 billion Kano-Maradi 284 kilometer standard gauge rail line with a branch line from Kano to Dutse.

Speaking at the virtual groundbreaking on Tuesday in Katsina state, Buhari said the   commencement of the construction of the rail line was vital to the transportation infrastructure in the country.

According to the President, “the rail line traverses the major commercial and administrative centre of Kano and passes through other economic hubs of the country including Kazaure, Daura, Katsina and up to the border town of Jibiya and the Niger Republic city of Maradi.

“The cities of Jibiya and Maradi constitute a significant trading core between Nigeria and Niger Republic – a tradition dating back many centuries”.

Buhari explained further that “this vital infrastructure line will establish an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport services between Northern and Southern regions of the country, reaching Nigerian southern ports of Lagos and Warri.

“The entire route encompasses territory inhabited by close to 80 million people across 10 states of the country. This project has a branch line to Dutse the capital of Jigawa state to open up this corridor which is endowed with vast resources.

“The Kano – Maradi rail line has been identified as a viable line that will significantly enhance the movement of passengers and freight to the hinterland especially raw materials from both agricultural and mineral resources for our industries” the President stated.

He said “the project, when completed, would serve import and export of goods for Niger Republic and other countries in the sub-region through Nigerian ports.

“The country would earn revenue through expansion of trade and commerce, while the people of Niger Republic will benefit from ease of transportation logistics at affordable cost in their import and export business.

“The connection to Niger Republic through rail will also foster trans-Sahara trade and contribute to the expected gains in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

“We have in the rail sector embarked on the completion of the 1,424 Kilometer Lagos – Kano rail line to join the one being flagged-off today for the country’s Western axis.

“On the Eastern corridor of the country, the Port Harcourt – Enugu – Makurdi – Maiduguri rail line with branches to Owerri, Imo state and Damaturu, Yobe state have been awarded for reconstruction to include a deep sea port in Bonny Island and a Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt with the objectives of achieving a vibrant and functional railway infrastructure in the eastern part of the country.

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“The Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance have been directed to vigorously act on engagement and concluding financial arrangement with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the West – East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar and linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenegao, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi said: “this project will reach a substantial completion in year 2023 when it will be ready to handle passenger and freight daily traffic forecasts of 9,364 passengers and approximately 3,000 metric tons of freight on return trips between Kano and Maradi.

“There is no doubt that this route when linked with the ongoing Lagos – Kano railway project on completion, will generate higher traffic volumes and revenue”.

He said “the construction project is going to be handled by Messrs Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited with the support of European Export Credit Agencies and Development Finance Institutions and the involvement of local capacities and resources in line with the Presidential order on local content.

“Mr President has approved for development other railway infrastructure and related projects that are of significance to the nation’s socio-economic growth and bring the Nigerian economy to become a key player in the region and globally.

“The objective here is to establish a railway network that is sustainable and strong to serve as a transportation backbone and open a new path to positive economic transformation” the Minister stated.

Amaechi noted that “the scope of this project having its corridor within Kano, Katsina, Jigawa states and a 25km extension into Niger Republic involves construction of single track standard gauge rail line with an alignment of approximately 284Km traversing Kano – Dambatta – Kazaure – Shargelle – Mashi – Daura – Katsina – Jibiya – Maradi and a 94Km branch line from Kano to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State.

“The entire network of this project has 15 railway stations of different categories with major stations of approximately 3,000 peak passenger capacity in cities of Kano and Katsina and stations of standard category in Kazaure, Daura, Jibiya and Dutse and minor stations in Dambatta, Shargelle and Mashi as well as halt stations in Kunya, Kano airport, Muduru, Dadara and in Niger Republic at Annol Mata and Maradi.

“The rail line is also provided with accessories and special installations including power and water supply schemes, signalling system and communication in GSM-Railway, freight yards, rolling stock depots and maintenance workshops” he stated.

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