Political key players in both Nigeria and Niger are making plans to get a rail line that will link both countries underway. The primary reason for the rail line is to aid the smooth running of commercial activities between both countries.
Specifically, the ancient and commercially strategic city of Kano in Nigeria will be the focus stretching down to the core administrative city of Maradi in Niger.
Is the Proposed Bi-lateral Railway Line Necessary?
From a commercial stance, the truth is that this proposition will aid the economic growth of both nations. A trade expert explained that the city of “Kano is one, if not the biggest seller of grain in the entire West African region. As a result, it is a major hub and frequently visited by people from Maradi and faraway places like Burkina-Faso”.
By having such a project realized, it will help aid the smooth running of commercial activities between both regions and other west African countries close to the axis. The proximity of Maradi to Kano is also a reason why the proposed move is feasible. This is considering how the administrative city of Maradi is no more than 518 kilometers away from Nigerian soil.
Any Cause for Concern?
From a Nigerian stance, the biggest problem is how the move will not be termed as ethnically biased. This is especially concerning how many other parts of the nation have not been benefiting from the rail system.
A political analyst based in Enugu explained that “I hail from the southwestern axis of the nation and Ibadan to be precise. Back at home, I have made good use of the railway system to places like Ilorin, Jebba, and even down to Kano and other Northern regions. However, the situation is pathetic in the Southeast. The truth is that I have never heard a train sound in the city of Enugu. The ancient rail tracks are simply dilapidating as they have not been used and maintained for a while. Social amenities should likewise be installed in this region as they form a very important group in the nation”.
There are also security concerns as the insurgency and terrorism have reached an all-new level under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.