The Federal government has said the Kano – Katsina – Jibiya – Maradi rail project will cover an estimated eighty million Nigerians across 10 states of the federation.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the disclosure, Tuesday, during the groundbreaking ceremony for commencement of work on the single track standard gauge rail line with an alignment of approximately 284Km.
This was as the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, announced that the much-criticised, multi-million naira project will attain “substantial completion” in 2023.
Apart from serving traversing ten states of the federation, President Buhari further noted that the railway project has the potential of boosting trade relations between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
He added that same will serve the import and export needs of Niger and other neighbouring countries.
The president said: “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”.
He added thus: “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”.
In his welcome address, Amaechi pledged that the project will reach substantial completion stage in 2023.
According to the minister, preliminary study for the rail line, commenced sometime in 2012, and by 2015, feasibility study had been concluded by his ministry.
“Mr President, distinguished guests, the preliminary studies for the Kano – Maradi railway route commenced in year 2012.
“By 2015, the Ministry had concluded the Feasibility studies of this route from Kano to Maradi and produced an Outline Business Case that attested to the high viability of this corridor for railway transportation and was therefore listed among other prioritized railway and railway related projects.
“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 fifteen (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”, Amaechi stated.
He furthee noted: “The rail line is also provided with accessories and special installations including Power and Water Supply schemes, Signalling System & Communication in GSM-Railway, Freight yards, Rolling stock depots and maintenance workshops.
“This project will reach a substantial completion in year 2023 when it will be ready to handle passenger and freight daily traffic forecast 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.
“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”.