The Secretary-General of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation, Ambassador Abubakar Abduljalil-Sulaiman, said efforts were being made for the Funtua (Katsina) and Kano dry ports to come on stream.
A report made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos indicated this.
According to the report, Abduljali-Sulaiman said this at the opening of a meeting of experts on road, rail, maritime and air of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation ongoing in Abuja.
He said the authorities of Nigeria had commenced the construction of the dry port in Funtua where goods destined to the Northern states and Niger regions, bordering with Nigeria would be temporarily stored.
Abduljali-Sulaiman said: “The supply of these zones with various goods will be facilitated. We are equally making consultations with financial backers and stakeholders for the realisation of the Dala dry port, Kano.”
He said that works were also going in the areas of rail links and air transport between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Abduljalil-Sulaiman said the meeting “is holding few days after the launching of the construction of four stretches of cross-border roads in Nigeria-Niger territories’’.
He further said: “They are: Aguie (Niger) – Dancama (Nigeria); Gazaoua-Guidan Tonko (Niger); Bougouzaoua (Niger) – Birnin Kuka (Nigeria); and Gazaoua-Gabaouri (Niger).
“This infrastructure will be carried out with the support of the World Bank through the competitiveness and growth support project.”
Abduljalil-Sulaiman said the committee was willing to follow up the construction of the three railways, namely: Kaura Namoda-Sokoto-Konni; Kano-Magana-Zinder; and Kano-Dayi-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi.
He said the realisation of these rail links would no doubt, boost and significantly develop the economic activities in both countries.
He said: “It will significantly improve the living conditions of the population and stamp out idleness and revolt among the teeming jobless and restless youths.”
He urged the committee to produce a comprehensive Bilateral Air Services Agreement to be signed by minsters of both countries (Nigeria and Niger) during the next Council of Minsters’ meeting coming up in Abuja.
Abduljalil-Sulaiman explained: “The Secretariat proposes a provisional agenda which deals with the review of the status of implementation of decisions relating to the areas of competence of the committee.
“Namely: the construction and rehabilitation of roads, rail links, transportations and transit of goods as well as the finalisation of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement.’’
He said that the committee would help to a large extent, to achieving the key objectives of ECOWAS, which “is the free movement of people, capital, goods and services’’.
He also stated: “Thereby strengthening the secured relations of cooperation and good neighbourliness between the two people.
“The committee has helped to achieve a highly appreciable record of the intensification of road network linking the two countries.
“It has intensified the introduction of multiple construction of tarred, asphalted and diverse road projects.”
NAN reports that the committee was created in 2013 with the mandate to find a strategy of facilitating transit trade between Nigeria and Niger.
Its aim is to convince and bring back Niger Economic operator or business men to transit their cargoes through the Nigerian corridors.
The committee’s task involves port services, port charges, customs clearance, availability of rail services to the Northern part of Nigeria and safe and secure roads to the Northern region bordering Niger Republic namely”: Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno States.
The Niger delegation is led by Tahiti Mahaman Kandarga, the Director of Studies and Programming, Ministry of Equipment, Niger.
Also on the Niger delegation is the Assistant Secretary General of the Commission, Ambassador Toure Maiga.
The Nigerian delegation is led by Ashibel Peter Utsu the Deputy Director of Planning, Studies and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Transportation who is the Chairman of Nigerian Committee of Experts.
Also on the Nigerian team is Ambassador Shuaibu Haliru, Director, African Sub-Regional Organisations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Present at the meeting are delegation from: Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal Ministry of Road and Housing, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and their counterparts from Niger, amongst others.
SOURCE THE “EAGLE ONLINE”