The President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, has thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the Kano-Katsina-Maradi railway. He said that the project will integrate the economies of Nigeria and Niger.
Bazoum said this in Abuja on 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 reporters after his meeting with the Nigerian leader at Government House in Abuja.
“So I am here to thank President Buhari for his effort to ensure that this project has taken off and I hope that it will be sustained because this project will radically change the commercial exchange between the two countries.
“We also talked about the pipeline in the sense that gas and oil have now become an issue in world politics, in the world economy.”
The rail project links Kano state in northern Nigeria with Maradi, a city in southern Niger.
The project, funded by the Nigerian government, has generated controversy, with some Nigerians questioning the logic behind it. However, the government has defended the project, saying it will boost existing trade between the two neighboring 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 major operation that is being carried out today jointly in the Lake Chad Basin region against terrorists and this major operation is being carried out by the MNJTF, the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“And as you are well aware, the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force are financed almost entirely by Nigeria. And this operation is intended to help solve the security challenges facing our two countries.
“I want to reiterate my recommendation and thanks to President Buhari, who, thanks to his support, this operation continues and will continue in the future,” he said.
Bazoum also said that he and Buhari agreed to consolidate the ties that exist between them in the areas of security and economic development.
President Bazoum, who arrived at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at around 11:00 am, was received by his host, President Buhari. Shortly after exchanging courtesies, the visiting president inspected an honor guard mounted by officials from the Presidential Guard Brigade.
Shortly after, the two leaders entered a closed session, in which they discussed bilateral issues and then had lunch.
The visiting president then interacted with journalists covering Government House, where he thanked his host for his display of hospitality.
He said the two countries will continue to strengthen ties in security and economy.
“It is a pleasure to be here today and I want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari very much and then thank him from the bottom of my heart for the hospitality and warm reception that my delegation and I have benefited from since we arrived.
“I am happy to be here and our talks with President Buhari focused on issues related to the economy and the security situation in our countries so we push these issues to be of mutual benefit to both countries, Niger and Nigeria. ”
The visiting president has already returned to his country. Senior Nigerien government officials accompanied him on the visit.