A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina), says the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic and to Dutse-Jigawa, would boost economic development in the region.
In an interview with newsmen Soli said that those opposed to the idea and criticising government for the initiative do not know much about the volume of trade that takes place in the region.
He said the rail lines, which cost a total of $1.95 billion, would ease the movement of goods and services in line with ECOWAS Treaty to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“So, the component of railway attached to it will improve trade, it would guarantee the movement of goods and services which is in line with the ECOWAS treaty, which we have signed.
“This railway is not going into Niger Republic; it is going to the border between Nigeria and Niger, where there is a container terminal built by the Nigerian Government.
“We have our Immigration there and every now and then they discharge goods there.
“It is easier for transportation, it would help our roads; you know there is a dual carriage road being built from Kano to Jibia, if we do not have the railway, how do you save it?
“There is no state in the north that does not go to Kano for some form of business transaction and the road from Kano to Niger Republic is a trans-Saharan road.
“So, people who are saying there is no economic viability say so because they do not know the volume of trade that takes place in Kano.
“There is what is called silk road from China to Europe if we have the capability, there is no reason Nigerian Government cannot construct a railway from Nigeria up across the West African region, because it is to our benefit,’’ he said.
Soli said that similar developments were ongoing in other parts of the country and that there was no reason any region should be left out.
“This government has come with the initiative that would broaden and widen opportunities for the citizens; are you saying that people from Kano and Katsina are not Nigerians.
“Do they not deserve anything that would improve the economy?
“Did somebody from Katsina complain about the construction of Second Niger Bridge, did anybody from Sokoto or Kano complain about the Lagos-Ibadan railway or Itakpe to the South-South, did anybody ask about the viability?
“We should not allow all these trivial things to impede issues that will help this nation develop, guarantee and improve the quality of our people,’’ he said.
Speaking on the state of insecurity, Soli, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, advised security agencies not to relent in their effort to crush criminals.
He urged security agencies not to be deterred, but to sustain their interventions in the troubled parts of the country.
“The issue of insecurity is rather unfortunate in the country, our security forces are doing their best; somehow in my own view, I think they are overwhelmed.