President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the construction of the Kano-Kaduna railway project.
The rail project is the third segment of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway modernisation project.
The first segment (Abuja-Kaduna) and the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) were inaugurated for commercial operations in July 2016 and June 2021, respectively.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Buhari said the railway station is strategically located adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano.
The president said his administration recognises rail transportation as a potent economic driver and as such, has accorded railway infrastructure development the greatest priority.
“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of Lagos-Kano vividly represents the commitment of this administration in the revival of the Nigerian railway system to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country,” Buhari said.
“This project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the federal capital territory, Abuja.
“This railway connection, when completed, will establish the ports in Lagos, as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
“This would positively drive our economies through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
“The federal ministry of transportation and ministry of finance are working to engage co-financiers to conclude financial agreements for the development of the Ibadan-Kano line and further increase the bankability of the project.
“The railway line will be linked to the second port in Lagos, the Tin Can Island port. It is also expected that the dry inland port on these routes will be activated. The ports can now receive imports directly from the international market as ports of destination.”
In his remarks, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, said the proposed mega-railway station at Zawachiki in Kano would be the biggest train station in Nigeria when completed.
“The project will improve the standard of living within this corridor, create employment…we will not employ anything less than 20,000 workers on this route. It will also promote trade.
“In the long term, the railway will help decongest the Lagos port complex and increase efficiency and as well as further increase the viability of the inland dry port located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.
“The Ibadan-Abuja (railway project) will link the seaports to Maradi, Niger Republic, which I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development.”
Ameachi also hinted that the federal government would soon construct another railway that will link Sokoto-Kebbi-Zamfara to the national railway network.
“Currently, we are awaiting the national assembly for the approval of the loan facility to continue the work from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri,” he added.
“The work traverses Port-Harcourt, Aba Umuahia, Enugu, Markurdi, Lafia, Jos, Kafanchan-Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu, Gasua, and then Borno.”