The Presidency said on Thursday Nigeria was not building a rail line into Niger Republic but to the border between both countries.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, made the clarification on his Twitter handle.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had 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 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 Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.”
The main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other stakeholders, in their reaction to the announcement, accused the government of misplaced priority.
But Shehu insisted that the plan was to construct the rail line up to the border between Nigeria and 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, 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 and 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.”
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