Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali, has hinted that the Federal Government was committed to complete the $2 billion Kano/Niger international rail project slated for 2025.
The project, which was initiated by the immediate past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, was signed in 2021, while execution of the project commenced in 2022.
The Kano/Niger international rail project, expected to boost economic activities between Nigeria and Niger Republic, started from Dawaunu, Kano and terminated in Maradi, Republic of Niger.
Senator Alkali after a long inspection of the ongoing project, expressed satisfaction at the level of work done so far. He was also optimistic that the contractors handling the project will deliver in good time, considering the level of commitment they have so far, exhibited.
According to him: “I am impressed with what I have seen. We came all the way from Dawanau to Dadinkowa Village in Jigawa State, where we are now so that we can have first-hand information of the level of the execution of the project and the compliance with the specifications of the contract.
“Hopefully, the contractors will meet the set target. When you look at the project from Dawanau to where we are, you can see that the major part of the work is almost accomplished if you look at the earth clearing and bush clearing. Hopefully, they will meet up with the 2025 target.”
Reacting to questions on whether the budget would be reviewed considering the current economic situation, the Minister said there was need for both the contractor and the Federal Government to make sacrifices.
“If you look at this, it all depends, because even the contractor himself has to make some sacrifices because we want to fix Nigeria. Everybody has to contribute their own quota to the development of this country”, he added.
Senator Alkali said his mission to Kano/Maradi was part of his schedules to inspect all the ongoing railway projects across the country, saying, “I intend to be in Port Harcourt next week. The earthwork here is around 80 per cent now and I am satisfied with the level of work so far.”
Speaking on the project, the Lead Contractor, Mr. Vladislav Bystrenko, revealed that the contract sum was $1.95 billion.
According to him, they resumed work on designing, land survey, supervision of the entire area for the project, even before money was released to them. He equally assured that his team will deliver on the project on schedule l.
The Minister also seized the opportunity to inspect facilities at the Muhammadu Buhari University of Transportation, Daura, Katsina State, where he commended the university management for the work so far done in the new citadel of higher learning.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Adam Umar, who conducted the Minister round the facilities in the Institution, also hinted that admissions into the University will commence by October this year.