John Ameh, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the award of two roads contracts linking Nigeria’s borders with the Republic of Niger, totalling N29.2bn.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), presided over the FEC meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
One of the roads, Kurnya-Babura-Niger Republic border, is in the sum of N19.7bn, and passes through Jigawa State.
The second road, Bale-Kurdella-Niger Republic border, is through Sokoto State and terminates at the country’s border with Niger.
The sum of N9.5bn was approved for the road on Wednesday by the FEC.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Works/Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said the roads would promote business across the borders.
He added that the roads would position Nigeria for effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The minister said, “It is not only critical to execute our mandate under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and ministerial mandate to improve infrastructure, but also for the enablement of business across borders particularly now that we have taken an affirmative position of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
“The market in that area of the country (Nigeria/Niger borders) does a lot of trade across borders. So, this is a good boost for business as well.”
Recall that in 2017, the government also proposed a rail line linking Nigeria and a Nigerien border town. It made a provision for the project in the budget.
The project had generated controversies after many Nigerians complained that it would not serve the country’s safety interest in view of the current security challenges it faced with neighbouring countries.
Wednesday’s FEC session also approved N1.2bn for two projects in the Ministry of Aviation.
It approved N591.8million for refurbishment of the office of the Accident Investigation Bureau in Abuja and another N645.4m for the establishment of a training school in Abuja for the AIB.
A separate memo of N734.4m was also approved for the Ministry of Water Resources for the extension of the Kontagora/Auna Dam and Irrigation project in Niger State.