By Chinonye Anyatonwu
The Federal Government has stressed the importance of the Nigeria-Niger Republic rail line, reaffirming that the project will boost trade and other socio-economic interactions between both countries and in the continent.
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo stated this in Abuja at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the project between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo signed for Nigeria while the Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Niger, Alma Oumarou signed for his country.
The Minister noted that the rail line, which will start from Kano State in Nigeria and end at Maradi in Niger Republic, will facilitate the realization of the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which Nigeria and Niger Republic are signatories.
” I am aware that people have blood relationships across borders so the project will expand the historical and cultural relationship between the people of Nigeria and those of the Niger Republic. The project is also very important in enhancing inter-nation and continental trade”, the Minister added.
On the implementation of the project, the Minister said a Technical Committee would be set up within seven days in accordance with Article 3 of the MoU, adding that nomination of members and inauguration of the Technical Committee would be concluded by the first week of February 2023.
According to him, after their inauguration, the Technical Committee will take charge of the facilitation and implementation of the project.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Niger, Alma Oumarou corroborated that the rail project will promote inter-nation as well as continental trade, strengthen cultural ties between the two countries and create jobs.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said work has been ongoing on the Kano-Maradi rail line for the past two years, adding that the signing of the MoU would expedite the completion of the project.
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