President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday revealed the reason behind the construction of the Maradi Rail Project which truncates in the Niger Republic.
This was during an interview with AriseTV in Abuja.
Critics of the administration have stated that the construction is a prelude to an agenda by the Fulanis to dominate the country, and wondered why the federal government would develop a rail project to another country, given the dearth of infrastructure in many parts of Nigeria.
Ripples Nigeria had reported in 2018 that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, disclosed that the Nigerian government was constructing a rail line to link Kano with Maradi in the Niger Republic in order to boost Nigeria’s economy.
Maradi is at the border with Nigeria in the Niger Republic.
“Currently, Niger Republic, Chad, and others have abandoned the Nigerian market. They do not use our seaports again,” he said.
“They go to countries like the Benin Republic and they are growing the economy of those people and we do not have deep seaports in Nigeria”, Amaechi had stated.
Corroborating the Minister’s stance, President Buhari during the interview said, “The border with Niger is over a hundred kilometres due to French influence. In Niger, there are Kanuris, Hausas, Fulanis just as there are Yorubas in the Benin Republic.
“You can’t absolutely cut them off, but the railway plans are due to the oil discovery in the Niger Republic.
“We don’t want them to go through the Benin Republic with respect to the oil revenue; we want them to come through Nigeria. In constructing the Maradi Railway, we hope the Niger Republic Government sends their oil exports through Nigeria, not the Benin Republic”.
Buhari also noted that he visited the neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger, Cameroon “to foster a good relationship with them.
“If we are not on good terms with them, the Boko Haram insurgency could have been worse than this”, he said.