The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a $1.96bn contract for a rail line that would link Nigeria to the Niger Republic.
The approval was given at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that the money approved for the development of the proposed rail line linking Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Jibia and to Maradi in the Niger Republic was inclusive of Value Added Tax.
The rail line is designed to connect three Northern states – Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states – as well as seven senatorial districts. The 248-kilometre line is expected to aid the transportation of crude oil.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and some civil rights groups took a swipe at the Buhari administration, saying the project was a misplacement of priority in a country facing intractable problems of insecurity and harsh economic conditions arising from hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff.
Besides the rail project, Amaechi disclosed the council also approved the award of a contract worth N3.049bn for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and inauguration of one railway crane for the purposes of clearing rail tracks during accidents.