A nonprofit organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has frowned at the abandonment of the narrow-gauge eastern railway project.
The human rights group opined that President Muhammadu Buhari places preference on the completion of the $1.96 billion, 284-kilometer Kano-Katsina-Maradi railway project to Niger Republic before handing over power in 2023.
The group national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, lamented on Friday, raising concern that the president has placed his kinsmen in Niger Republic above legitimate Nigerians who will immensely reap the benefit of the 2044.1km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge railway.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, few days ago disclosed that the Project could not progress due to paucity of funds.
This is coming after pledge by the Buhari-led Federal Government that the railway would be completed before May 29, 2023.
“From day one, President Buhari has never been forthright and transparent about Eastern railway Project. Many excuses were adduced for the delay including insecurity but now this. This is despite the fact that Buhari approved $1.96 billion fund for the Kano-Maradi rail in Niger Republic,” HURIWA said.
“Of note, Buhari approved many external loans for the Niger Republic project. Reports by the Debt Management Office showed that Nigeria’s total external debt rose from $10.32bn on June 30, 2015, to $40.06bn as of June 30, 2022, over 288.18 per cent increase in seven years.
“…What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Every part of the country should be developed equally. No part should be treated as second class.”