The Federal Government on Friday declared that it has approved for a rail construction from Lagos-Kano-Katsina to be extended to Maradi in Niger Republic for economic and commercial benefits.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this known during a live programme, Good Morning Nigeria on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Mohammed stated that contrary to the criticisms by Nigerians, the rail extension was intended for Nigeria to take economic advantage of import and export to Niger Republic, Chad and Burkina Faso which are landlocked countries.
He said that the decision for the rail extension project was purely taken in the economic interest of the country.
His words: “I think there have been a lot of disinformation and total lack of information over the linking of Lagos, Kano, Katsina railway to Maradi.
“The wisdom behind it is that Niger, Chad, Burkina Fasso are all landlocked, meaning that they do not have access to sea.
“What this means is that most of their imports and exports have to go through neighbouring countries’ seaports like Cotonou in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.
“Because we do not have a road infrastructure that will encourage Niger Republic to use our seaports, we believe that we will be able to take over their imports and exports with the rail linkage.
“The simple reason, therefore, is to strengthen the economy of Nigeria.”
He continued: “For now, Niger Republic use the seaports of Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana and the exporters go through the stress, challenges and time of being on the road from Cotonou, Lome or Accra to their country.
“But when you look at the distance by rail, by the time we link them from Katsina to Maradi, it will be easier for us to take over the business.
“There is nothing like territorial expansion; it is purely economic. We are taking advantage of the proximity and efficiency of rail system.”
He urged critics of government policies and decisions to always seek clarifications before going to town to misinform the public.
Mohammed equally said that government will keep engaging in more conversation to enlighten the public on its policies, programmes and decisions.
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