President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow Tuesday, perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kano-Maradi railway project. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed on Sunday.
In a release yesterday issued by Amaechi’s Media Assistant, Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, the Kano-Maradi line is crucial to the overall railway development in Nigeria and the sub-region.
On completion, the rail project would represent the last section of the corridor that connects Lagos-Kano and subsequently to the Republic of Niger, through the border town of Maradi.
The line according to the release, is designed to pass close to major cities, towns and villages without dividing them to facilitate public transportation and to stimulate the development of the agricultural economy and manufacturing industries along the corridor.
It is expected to have a total of 15 stations including Maradi (Niger Republic) which comprises two main stations in Kano and Katsina, three medium stations in Kazaure, Daura and Jibiya, three small stations in Shagalle, Dambatta and Mashi, with other Halt stations at the Airport, Kunya Dube, Muduru, Daddara, Anoal Mata and Maradi.
The rail line which has a branch line to Kano-Dutse will be of huge importance particularly in harnessing raw materials and agro products along the corridor.
“The project when completed will serve domestic industries and play the role of a viable transportation backbone, linking countries in the West Africa sub-region starting with the neighbouring Niger Republic for their import and export logistics chain.
“In the process, the volume of trade in the country will increase while promoting the realisation of Nigeria’s interest in the Africa Free Trade Single Market Area formulation.
“The railway will account for average freight carriage forecast of 1,043,980.5 tons annually in the first 10years of operation within its short corridor and a forecast of average passenger traffic of 3,543,637.9 annually within the same period.
“A geometrical increase in this service is expected when it is linked to the South Nigeria port of Apapa, Tin-can Island and Warri is realised by the construction of Lagos-Kano and Abuja-Itakpe respectively to average forecast of 2.2 million tons annually and passenger traffic of average of 5.1million,” the statement read in part.
The main agricultural crops grown in commercial quantity along the corridor are groundnuts, cassava, yam, potatoes, millet, maize, rice, beans, as food crops and livestock include cattle, sheep, goat and poultry.
The event is expected to be presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, with scores of governors, ministers, ambassadors of both countries in attendance.
The 284km standard gauge rail project, is to be handled by a Portuguese firm, Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited.
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