By Abankula with Lucy Ogalue/ Abuja
For a change, the Chinese are not building Kano-Maradi rail line. Portugal’s firm Mota-Engil is the winner of the almost $2billion contract.
The contract for the building of the rail line was signed in Abuja today by Nigeria’s Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, while the Managing Director, Mota- Engil, Antonio Gvoea signed on behalf of the firm.
The rail line links the northern Nigerian city of Kano with Niger’s Maradi. It also links Kano with Dutse in Jigawa.
Towns such as Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya would also be linked on the rail line.
“Today, we signed the contract documents for the commencement of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse railway project,” Amaechi wrote in a tweet.
Mota-Engil had also agreed to build a university as part of the agreement, he added.
The entire contract sum for the standard gauge railway line is 1.959billion dollars.
The scheme is part of a government plan to build rail networks across Nigeria to address the poor transport infrastructure that has stymied economic growth for decades.
A separate project seeks to connect the Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos and Kano.
The minister said the 283.750 kilometre rail line would help develop freight and passenger transport as it would be integrated with road transport.
He said the project would be for 36 months.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Ministry’s Permanent secretary, Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh and Head of Legal, Mota- Engil Group, Cameron Beverley.
It was also witnessed by Magajin Garin Kano, Muhammad Wada, Director, Mota-Engil Group, Kola Abdulkarim, Vice President, Mota-Engil Group, Mohammed Abdul-Razaq, among others.
Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar and the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman were among other dignitaries at the signing of the contract.