The Managing Director of Jifatu General Enterprises, Sabitu Muhammad Yahaya, has said that the Kano-Katsina-Maradi rail project, recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, will revive the 1,000-year-old trans-Saharan trade in Africa.
The businessman argued that ignorance of its benefit made some people attack the initiative which was important to the economic prosperity of the country, just as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) launched in January.
- ‘They invaded staff quarters before entering hostels’ – witness speaks on attack at Niger school
- How bandits are turning Kaduna communities to ghost towns
Alhaji Yahaya, who stated this in Kano while speaking to newsmen on the project, said: “All knowledgeable and focused people have been praying for a day like this where the over 1,000-year trans-Saharan trade will be revived. We are very grateful to the president for launching the 300 kilometre Kano-Katsina-Maradi rail line.
“Businessmen know the value of this project more than any other person. We remember when goods were delivered to Kano directly from Arlit in Niger Republic.
“I am surprised that some people are attacking the president for initiating this project. Where were they when late President Shagari built the Seme border road that led to Benin Republic then? Did you hear any Northerner speak against it? Why the attack on this one?
“This project is like rainfall that will benefit everyone, including those attacking it. Trans-Saharan trade is what Nigeria, Central Africa, North Africa are known for for thousands of years. It will also support the AfCFTA which took off in January and which Nigeria is a signatory to.
“This is a three-generation initiative whose impact may not be seen instantly; trust me even our grandchildren will thank us one day. The focus is on the next 70-100 years.
“I am confident that this is a kind of project that will be completed as soon as possible. Our businessmen, traditional rulers, politicians and intellectuals should see this project as their own and support it with all they could.’’
The business mogul also said when completed, even land value in the affected areas will multiply.
He lamented that the North has been lacking such capital projects for years, hence, the need to support the President on the project.