The Federal Government has signed the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with Mota- Engil Group on the construction of 1.959billion dollars Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) Standard Gauge Railway lines.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in a statement by the Director Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Eric Ojiekwe, said the project was aimed at linking the whole country by rail.
Amaechi signed the MoU on behalf of the Federal Government while the Managing Director, Mota- Engil, Antonio Gvoea signed on behalf of the contracting firm.
According to the Minister, the new railway corridor which is to be located in northern Nigeria will run through Kano, Jigawa and Katsina and through Niger Republic territory as far as Maradi.
He said other cities such as Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya would also be affected by the rail line in Nigeria.
The minister said the 283.750 kilometre rail line would help develop freight and passenger transport as it would be integrated with road transport.
He added that it would contribute greatly to the local economy as well as the nation’s social sector.
According to Amaechi, the duration for the project is 36 months and the contract type is Engineering, Procurement and Construction.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Magdalene Ajani, the Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh, the Managing Director, Mota-Engil Group, Antonio Gvoea and Head of Legal, Mota- Engil Group, Cameron Beverley.
It was also witnessed by Magajin Garin Kano, Muhammad Wada, Director, Mota-Engil Group, Kola Abdulkarim, Vice President, Mota-Engil Group, Mohammed Abdul-Razaq, among others.
He added that the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar and the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman among other diginitaries also witnessed the signing.
The Federal Government has said it would shut down the Lagos-Ibadan and the Abuja-Kaduna train services should there be any case of Covid-19 detected among passengers.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who stated this on Monday while featuring on NTA Good Morning Nigeria programme monitored, said train users must comply with all Covid-19 protocols from the beginning of every trip to the end.
The Minister said: “If we see that we are conveying passengers who have COVID from Lagos to Ibadan and Ibadan to Lagos, we will stop it just like we are threatened to stop the one from Kaduna to Abuja if people don’t comply with the Covid protocols.
“Don’t forget that on Kaduna-Abuja, we convey 4,000 passengers in a day. Imagine that about 20 per cent have Covid, they can transmit Covid to the entire passengers. The rate of transmission will be high. The same is applicable to Lagos. Everybody must comply with the Covid protocols; wear your masks till the end of the journey.”
The Minister added that the $1.6billion Lagos-Ibadan railway project which would be completed this month would be inaugurated virtually by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation had in December 2020 commenced operations for the Lagos-Ibadan railway, a standard gauge rail covering a distance of 156kilometres.