Building Railways From Kano To Niger Republic With Borrowed Chinese Money Is Fraudulent And Offends Our National Security Interests-: Says Huriwa:
A Statement by the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group (HURIWA) Strongly Condemning The Approval of About $1.96 billion USD Contract For The Development of The Proposed Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi Rail Line in Niger Republic By The Federal Executive Council of Nigeria, Describing It As A Misplaced Priority and An A Grave Threat To National Security just as it is fraudulent to borrow from China and build for Niger Republic and then tax Nigerians to pay back:
It is no longer news that in the face of intractable problems of insecurity and harsh economic conditions arising from hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a $1,959,744,723.71 contract for a rail line that would link Nigeria to Niger Republic. The approval, according to media reports was given at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by the President; Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, revealed that the rail line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic is to cover a track length of 248 kilometres and will pass through seven senatorial districts, all in the Northern part of the country.
Specifically, the rail contract which was initially budgeted in the 2018 Appropriation will connect at least seven cities in Nigeria and one city in Niger Republic and is expected to start from Kano and pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic.
OUR POSITION AND DEMANDS:
Although Minister of Transport; Rotimi Amaechi informed that the rail line, apart from connecting three Northern states (Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states) that it is expected to aid the transportation of crude oil; the project is another proof of misplacement of priority by the Buhari regime.
The country is currently facing intractable problems of insecurity and harsh economic conditions arising from hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff by the Buhari regime. This regime has a recurring problem of never getting its priorities right and at the end of the day; Nigerians are the ones who suffer from these poor choices by this government.
This project is a ticking time bomb and a grave threat to National security. This is because, when completed, it will ease the influx of illegal aliens into Nigeria, which could be used to unleash mayhem and from unfolding incidents in some parts of North, many of these aliens are inclined to violence, a belief that is supported by the fact that many of them are armed.
Recall that Vanguard Newspaper, in its December 3rd, 2016 report, quoted Kaduna State Governor; Mallam Nasir el-Rufai as saying that his government has traced some violent, aggrieved Fulani to their countries and paid them to stop the killings of Southern Kaduna natives and the destruction of their communities. Among the countries mentioned by the Governor was Niger; same country this regime building rail links to.
It is without any doubt that large scale banditry is on the rise throughout Nigeria, particularly in the North west that the proposed rail line will link Nigeria and Niger from.. In Niger and in other parts of West Africa, the line between "jihadis" and criminal networks can be very thin. Indeed, jihadi groups have financed their operations by kidnapping for ransom, cattle rustling and human and narcotics trafficking, among other criminal activities
We are worried that this project when completed will be express entry for killer herdsmen and terrorists from Niger. We see it also as a plot to flood Nigeria with illegal aliens for purposes of undermining the 2023 polls.
Therefore, we condemn this venture as wasteful because of the danger of being used to import weapons that will set Nigeria ablaze. Whereas there are no such Rail lines linking Lagos to Enugu and Port Harcourt or Maiduguri to Enugu, President Buhari is investing almost $2bn to build railways for terrorists and bandits to flood into Nigeria and destabilise the country. Is this government just for the North?
In any event, the bottom line is that security everywhere in Nigeria, particularly across the north, appears to be rapidly deteriorating, resulting to popular discontent. Hence, this rail project is ill-timed and a wasteful effort.
Beyond the security aspect, Let us even look at it from the point of view of the economy. What is the economic benefit of this project to Nigeria? The Nigerian economy, as it is today, is not in a state to contain this kind of wasteful spending. IF WE MAY ASK WHAT IS THE LEGALITY AND MORALITY OF BORROWING FROM CHINA AND THEN TURN BACK TO BUILD INFRASTRUCTURES IN ANOTHRR SOVEREIGN STATE AND THEN COMPEL NIGERIANS TO COUGH OUT TAXES TO PAY BACK THESE DUBIOUS LOANS THEY NEVER BENEFITTED FROM?
Facilitated by globalisation, illegal immigration has generated a lot of issues resulting in sweeping changes to laws and operations of border control agencies of many countries including Nigeria.
The dynamic and evolving realities of the Nigerian Immigration landscape necessitated the passage of the immigration Act, 2015 and the launch of the Immigration Regulations 2017. Nigeria remains the largest economy in Africa and the midpoint of economic activities in the West African sub-region with the attendant movement of prospective investors and other migration flows.
Generally, illegal immigration in Nigeria is a serious problem and the border has become quite porous. According to authorities, people from Niger are biggest group of illegal immigrants, and the problems with illegal influx migrants are seen in the dangers faced by the host or receiving country, which are social, economic, political and security.
A rapid influx of illegal immigrants has led to crisis of identification and an increase in the crime rates in Nigeria. It is alleged that among the illegal migrants there are militants, who enter the nation to carryout terrorist activities. Terrorism has become a global trend, and it is thought that the current government of Muhammadu Buhari would seek out practical ways to strengthen our porous borders, instead it is creating easy and accessible means of illegal arms trafficking and immigrants. THIS RAILWAY PROJECT IS AN INVITATION TO FURTHER ESCALATION OF CHAOS AND ANARCHY IN NIGERIA. IT MUST VE HALTED. WE WILL LOOK FOR MEANS OF INSTITUTING A LEGAL CHALLENGE SO THIS ILLEGAL RAIL OROJECT IS ANNULED FORTHWITH.
*COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO:
Miss. Zainab Yusuf:
Director; National Media Affairs:
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
24th September 2020.