The President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, has thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the Kano-Katsina-Maradi railway. He said the project will integrate the economies of Nigeria and Niger.
Mr Bazoum said this in Abuja Thursday during an official visit to his Nigerian counterpart.
“On economic issues, we discussed the Kano-Katsina-Maradi railway project. And this project is an infrastructure that will integrate the economies, the economies of Nigeria and Niger,” he said. He spoke to journalists after his meeting with the Nigerian leader at the State House, Abuja.
“So I’m here to thank President Buhari for his effort at ensuring that this project has taken off and I hope that it will be sustained because this project will radically change the trading exchange between the two countries.
“We also spoke about the gas pipeline in the sense that gas and oil now have become an issue in world politics, in the world economy.”
President Buhari and visiting President, Mohammed Bazoum of Niger Republic. pic.twitter.com/YGnPljLd8o
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The rail project links Kano State in Northern Nigeria with Maradi, a city in southern Niger.
The project, being financed by the Nigerian government, has generated controversy, with some Nigerians questioning the logic behind it. The government has, however, defended the project, saying it will boost the existing trade between the two neighbouring countries.
The Nigerien leader also thanked Mr Buhari for the Multinational Joint Task Force, which is largely funded by the Nigerian government.
“My visit coincides with the very big operation that is taking place jointly today in the Lake Chad Basin region against the terrorist and this big operation is being conducted by MNJTF – the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“And as you will know very well, the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force is funded almost entirely by Nigeria. And this operation is meant to help in providing security challenges that both of our countries are facing.
“I want to reiterate my recommendation and thanks to President Buhari, who because of his support this operation is going on and will be very much continuing in future,” he said.
Mr Bazoum also said he and Mr Buhari have agreed to cement the ties that exist among them in the areas of security and economic development.
President Bazoum, who arrived at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, around 11:00 a.m., was received by his host, President Buhari. Shortly after exchanging pleasantries, the visiting president inspected a guard of honour mounted by officials of the Presidential Guard Brigade.
Shortly after that, the two leaders went into a closed session, where they discussed bilateral issues and later had lunch.
The visiting president later interacted with journalists covering the State House, where he thanked his host for his show of hospitality.
He said the two countries would continue to strengthen ties on security and the economy.
“It’s my pleasure to be here today and I want to say thank you very much to President Muhammadu Buhari and then thank him from the bottom of my heart for the hospitality and for the warm reception that myself and my delegation have benefitted since we arrived.
“I’m happy to be here and our discussions with President Buhari centred on issues that relate to the economy and the security situation in our countries in a manner that we push these issues to be of mutual benefit to both countries, Niger and Nigeria.”
The visiting president has since returned to his country. Top government functionaries from Niger accompanied him for the visit.