The Nation (Nigeria)
Kano-kaduna railway and its social and economic significance
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday lay the foundation stone of the Kano-abuja sector of the Lagos-kano railway modernisation project.
The Lagos-kano rail project is part of the 25-year vision approved by the Federal Government for the rail transportation in 2002. The contract for it was signed on October 30, 2002 and assigned to a Chinese Company, China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC.
On October 22, 2009 CCECC and the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed a supplementary agreement for the implementation of the Abuja-kaduna segment, which was completed, inaugurated and put to use by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
On August 28, 2012, the government signed another supplementary agreement for Lagos-ibadan, the second segment of the corridor, for the construction of double track railway of 156.8 kilometres.
In addition to this, the CCECC and the government agreed on December 26, 2016 for the extension of this rail line to Apapa port, adding a distance of 8.57 kilometres.
Given the seriousness attached to the provision of super critical infrastructure projects the Buhari administration dusted off these agreements and commended actual execution.
In June, this year, the President was in Lagos to inaugurate this project and officially place it at the service of Nigerians.
In the same vein, the proposed Kano-ibadan was signed in April 2019, and the segment traverses Oyo, Osun, Kwara , Niger, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano states. This segment, it was agreed, will be implemented in three addendums: Ibadan-minna, 460 kilometres, Minna-abuja, 127 kilometres and the now to be commenced, Kanokaduna segment covering a distance of 203 kilometres.
This is an important passenger transportation corridor to connect the northern and the southern parts of Nigeria. The kano-kaduna segment of this project passes through important cities and towns in the north like Kaduna, Jaji, Zaria and Kano, and there is a dense population along the line. This line will undertake passenger exchange in various cities and towns between the capital of Nigeria and the largest city in the North, Kano. Therefore, this project is an important passenger transportation corridor to connect the main cities in the northern Nigeria, and in due course, the major towns down south.
This project is going to form an important part of the West African railway network. The 15 ECOWAS states are committed to a subregional railway network. It is hoped that it will connect to the Niger Republic railway through the Kano-maradi rail standard gauge rail line, which construction the President kickstarted a few months ago. This project will be a trunk railway line in Nigeria and also an important part of the West African railway network. Upon completion, this project will promote development in the north and rest of the country, and will create a condition for economic cooperation, material and personnel exchange with the surrounding countries. The completion of this line is, therefore, significant to Nigeria and the Western African subregion.
As stated above, this project is a trunk line of the national railway of Nigeria, an important part of regional network backbone system, a convenient channel and important passenger transportation corridor for passenger and freight exchange between cities in the country and an important part of the West African railway network.
When completed, this line is expected to meet the demands for the development of national economy, and it will open an efficient and convenient railway channel for import and export of goods in Nigeria and passenger exchange along the line. It will provide an efficient and highquality traffic means for the sustainable and rapid development of regional and the national economy, strengthen the cooperation and exchange between regions and further drive the development of traditional industry and domestic industrialisation process, so as to promote the sustainable development of economy along the whole line and even in the whole nation.
This line connects Kano, the important industrial city in the north of Nigeria and passes through Zaria and connects to the capital Abuja and the coastal city Lagos via the modern railway. At present, there is an existing narrow gauge railway in the channel of Lagos-kano, but it has a poor line condition and limited transportation capacity. The passenger and freight transportations between the South and the North are mainly undertaken by highway. The economic contact between cities in the North and all other parts of the country is restricted by unwanted conditions, forming a situation of limiting transportation. The south of Nigeria has relatively developed economy and high urbanisation rate, while the north is dominated by agriculture and animal husbandry, with a weak economic foundation. This line will strengthen the contact and exchange between the areas with backward economy and the external economic environment, drive the economic development in the backward area and play an extremely important role to make up for the unevenness of economic and social development between regions. Therefore, the construction of this line should, hopefully, strengthen the economic contact between the north and south of Nigeria and realise the exchange of materials and personnel, and strengthen the coordinative development of regional economy in the north.
Another important aspect of the new railway, which the construction starts today, is that it meets the demand for the formation of a green transportation channel in Nigeria.