The breakup of diplomatic connections between Nigeria and Niger as a result of the July 26 coup, in which military officials led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani overthrew President Mohammed Bazoum, may put the Nigeria-Niger Republic railway project in jeopardy.This occurred at a time when more than 1,000 trucks carrying commodities worth more than N350 million to Nigeria from other West African countries were stuck at the borders for more than a week as a result of the closure of the respective entry points to the two neighboring countries.

    Following the political development in the landlocked nation, the Federal Government and the Nigerien junta ordered the immediate closure of all land borders between the two nations.

    The Federal Government announced in 2021 that it would build a 284 kilometer rail line to the Niger Republic.

    Rotimi Amaechi, a former minister of transportation, estimates that the project will cost the nation roughly $2 billion and that Nigeria will finance it through loans from other countries.

    Read : ECOWAS calls for another meeting as Niger deadline elapses.

    The Kano-Niger Railway and other capital projects will continue to be built with the additional N454bn in public monies that the Muhammadu Buhari administration agreed to release earlier in March.

    The N454 billion, according to the previous transportation minister, would be spent on rolling stock as well as maintenance and operation tools for the standard gauge rail line being built between Kano and Maradi.

    Additionally, N510.93 million would be used to acquire four specially designed fire service/search and rescue trucks for seaports in Port Harcourt, the Lagos Port Complex, Tin Can Island, and the Marina headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

    The 248-kilometer rail route will go from Kano to Maradi, the commercial and agricultural center of the Niger Republic, via other places like Kazaure in Bauchi State, Daura and Mashi in Katsina State, Dutse in Jigawa State, and the border town of Jibia.

    Do you know Niger’s border shutdown might cost Nigeria $1.3 billion in commerce.

    It is anticipated that the line, which has 15 stations along its course, will carry 9,364 people and 3000 metric tonnes of cargo each day.The contract was given to MSSRS Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited for $984,722,302, which included 7.5 percent VAT and had a four-year completion term.But there was opposition to the scheme, especially from MPs.

    But there was opposition to the scheme, especially from MPs.The National Assembly’s joint committee on land and marine transportation criticized the proposed train project in November 2021.In an exclusive interview with Arise TV in June 2021, Buhari defended his administration’s plan to construct a railway that would connect Nigeria with the Niger Republic.

    I have first cousins in Niger, he declared. In Niger Republic, there are Kanuris, Hausas, and Fulanis, much as there are Yorubas in Benin Republic.”You can’t completely disconnect from them. Look at the plan, but the rail. You can see how we are restoring that rail if you read the plan. You probably already know that Niger also found oil, thus we don’t want to let them pass via the Benin Republic. Nigeria is the route we want them to take.

    One of the world’s poorest nations, Niger, gets 70% of its power from Nigeria. In retaliation, the military junta severed connections with Nigeria, France, and other nations after the ECOWAS delegates’ efforts to persuade the coup leaders to restore Bazoum to government were unsuccessful.The World Bank was the most recent foreign organization to declare last week that it was stopping all assistance to Niger “other than private sector partnerships.”

    Trapped trucks

    While the military leaders dug in deeper, transnational traders said that 60% of commodities heading for Nigeria were stuck at various points along the region’s borders.

    The Economic Community of West Africa Countries, headed by President Bola Tinubu, had mandated the closure of all member states’ common borders with the Niger Republic in an effort to pressure the junta to reestablish democracy.Ilela, Jibia, Maitakari, and Niger-Kamba crossings were among the four frontiers that Nigeria had sealed.

    ECOWAS summit

    President Tinubu, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, has called a new Extraordinary Summit of the Authority to discuss the political climate in the Republic of Niger.According to a statement posted on the website of the West African regional group on Monday, the summit will take place in Abuja on Thursday. “The political situation and recent developments in Niger will be taken into consideration and discussed by the ECOWAS leaders during the summit,” it said.

    The country’s airspace was shut off by the junta on Sunday, with a warning that anyone trying to breach it would face “an energetic and immediate response.” Niger’s airspace is blocked to all aircraft as of this Sunday until further notice because to the possibility of intervention, which is becoming more apparent due to neighboring nations’ preparations, the country’s new leaders announced in a statement.

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