OPINION: $1.9b rail line project approved fund, a misplaced priority
The approval on Wednesday by the Federal Executive (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari of a $1.9 billion rail project from Kano to the Niger Republic has come under public scrutiny as I have questioned the rationale behind the project.
The proposed rail line project will link Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Jibia and Maradi in the Niger Republic.
Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation told journalists at the end of the FEC meeting on Wednesday, that the rail line when completed is expected to aid the transportation of crude oil.
However, I must emphatically state that the President’s decision was based on misplaced priority and a wasted resources.
The truth is that there is no serious commerce between Nigeria and the Niger Republic. So spending $1.9billion of petroleum money to build a rail line from Kano to the Niger Republic, linking villages along the way is indeed a wasted resources.
Tell me – where is the prudence & profit in this project? Is there serious commerce between Nigeria & Niger? There are more basic needs that could be addressed with the fund.
A rail line connecting Nigeria and the Benin Republic or Ghana would have been a better decision rather than the Niger Republic.
Won’t a rail line to link Cotonou, Benin be better? It should even get to Ghana. Why take a loan to pave the way leading to an unproductive destination, what’s our economic activities with Niger that will pay back the debt? Does the National Assembly vet and approve these loans at all.?
To be honest, the project is leading to Nothing. Why can’t Buhari invest in states and regions like Lagos, Niger Delta generating those funds he’s about to waste.? Imaging the government is about to connect states with low GDP.
It is high time, we see the project as a misplaced priority and stop deceiving ourselves.