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Why I Spent $1.9bn On Nigeria-Niger Republic Railway Project – Buhari

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – President  Muhammadu  Buhari has opened up on his plans to construct railways and roads extending into Niger Republic.

He disclosed this during an interview on Arise Television which aired on Thursday.

According to President Buhari, the borders were arbitrarily drawn by the French colonialists without taking into cognisance the cultural resemblance of the people of Niger and Nigeria.

He also disclosed that he has first cousins in Niger Republic and the people of the South-West similarly have cousins in neighbouring Benin Republic.

The President also stated that another reason the railway is being constructed is to boost the friendly relationship with Niger which has assisted Nigeria to prevent Boko Haram terrorists from gaining unfettered access into Nigeria.

Buhari said: “If you recall, when I came, I went to Chad, I went to Niger, I went to Cameroon. Look at what happened with Boko Haram. If we were not in a good relationship with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, Boko Haram would have done worse things to us and you say I am going to Niger.

“I told you the border between us and Niger is 1, 500km. And  Niger (sic). I spoke to one French man and I had to tell him this. He spoke nonsense and I told him look, in 1885, you sat down and drew lines (boundaries). I said I have first cousins in Niger. There are Kanuris, there are Hausas, there are Fulanis in Niger Republic just as there are Yorubas in Benin. You can’t absolutely cut them off.”

According to Buhari, the new rail would help Nigeria to compete with Benin Republic which has cornered entrecote trade in the region.

He stated that Niger, which is a landlocked nation, has discovered oil, and Nigeria does not want them to trade through Benin Republic.

“We want them to come through Nigeria. We want them to send their exports through Nigeria,” the President said.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=64066

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