BY JACOB KUBEKA –
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has explained that the 283.750 kilometre rail line that is to link Nigeria and Niger Republic would help develop freight and passenger transport as it would be integrated with road transport.
The Minister gave the gave the explanation during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mota- Engil Group on the construction of 1.959billion dollars Kano-Maradi Standard Gauge Railway lines.
The announcement of plans for the rail line had last year generated mixed reactions, with not a few segments of the Nigerian segment questioning the rationale for the project.
A statement by the Director Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe on Tuesday, quoted Amaechi as also sayin that the rail project would contribute greatly to the local economy as well as the nation’s social sector.
The minister stressed that the project was aimed at linking the whole country by rail.
Amaechi signed the MoU on behalf of the Federal Government while the Managing Director, Mota- Engil, Antonio Gvoea signed on behalf of the contracting firm.
According to the Minister, the new railway corridor which is to be located in northern Nigeria will run through Kano, Jigawa and Katsina and through Niger Republic territory as far as Maradi.
He said other cities such as Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya would also be affected by the rail line in Nigeria.
The minister said the 283.750 kilometre rail line would help develope freight and passenger transport as it would be integrated with road transport.
According to Amaechi, the duration for the project is 36 months and the contract type is Engineering, Procurement and Construction.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Ministry’s Permanent, Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh, the Managing Director, Mota-Engil Group, Antonio Gvoea and Head of Legal, Mota- Engil Group, Cameron Beverley.
It was also witnessed by Magajin Garin Kano, Muhammad Wada, Director, Mota-Engil Group, Kola Abdulkarim, Vice President, Mota-Engil Group, Mohammed Abdul-Razaq, among others.
He added that the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar and the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman among other diginitaries also witnessed the signing. (With a NAN report)