Nigeria: the project to build a railway to Niger is controversial

Nigerians wonder about the relevance of this very expensive rail link with Niger, while their own country lacks such infrastructure.

(illustrative image) STRINGER / AFP

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

It is a project which worries in Benin and which is unanimous against it in Nigeria.

Last Wednesday, the Nigerian executive announced that it had released pledges of $ 1.9 billion for the construction of a 250 km railway line, which will link Nigeria to neighboring Niger.

A project whose foundations had been launched in 2015 but whose cost and real interest are debated.


Read more

With our correspondent in Lagos,

Liza Fabbian

The future railway line will link the city of Kano in Nigeria to that of Maradi, in southern Niger, passing through Jigawa, Katsina and Jibia.

But the announcement of this project costing nearly 2 billion dollars, goes badly in Nigeria, at a time when the country is suffering the consequences of the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus.

On social networks and in the media, Nigerians are questioning the relevance of this very expensive rail link with Niger, while their own country lacks such infrastructure.

Faced with these criticisms, the Nigerian presidency nevertheless specified that Nigeria would only build the section located on its territory and that the Republic of Niger would be responsible for financing the railway line from the border to Maradi.

The strategic and commercial interest of this project also raises questions.

In Benin, some observers believe that Nigeria wants to position itself to capture the trade flows and goods from Niger, which currently pass through the port of Cotonou.

But on the Nigerian side, we see things very differently: while the unions denounce “an insult” from the government and “a waste” of money, others accuse Muhammadu Buhari of wanting to favor the north of the country, where he comes from.


Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application


  • Nigeria

On the same subject

Nigeria: Edo State Swings Into Opposition Without Violence

Africa economy

Nigerians forced to forgo cheap gasoline