On Monday, the eighth of March, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari obtained the Head of Misson of the Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) on Niger Republic Election, former Vice President, Namadi Sambo on the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Sambo’s mission was to current a report on the election to the President.
President Buhari, clearly conscious of criticism over his greater than passing within the West African nation, made apparent by current insurance policies and actions with far-reaching financial implications, took his time to clarify why he can not afford to permit Niger Republic to be with out interventions from Nigeria.
In keeping with President Buhari, his administration has proven a lot curiosity in Niger as a result of it has greater than 1,400 kilometres of border with Nigeria, making it a necessity for Nigeria to pay severe consideration to any improvement throughout the nation, particularly its stability.
In a press release by Femi Adesina, his Particular Adviser on Media and Publicity, Buhari mentioned: “Nigeria shares greater than 1,400 kilometres of border with the Republic of Niger, and we needs to be involved concerning the stability of that nation.
“We’re involved about their stability, and I’m glad the elections went nicely. I’m pleased it was clear, as attested to by a lot of the observers,” President Buhari mentioned.
Although some analysts agree with President Buhari that the steadiness of the neighbouring nation, identical to others bordering Nigeria, have to be of concern to Nigerians and never simply the Buhari administration, they’re, nonetheless, piqued that the President appears to be lacking the purpose.
In keeping with analysts, Nigeria can solely be genuinely within the stability of its neighbours if its nation is secure.
In keeping with a public affairs analyst, Omeme John, Nigeria is for the time being extra of an agent of instability to a few of its neighbours. This, he mentioned, turns into evident with the actions of Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) incursions into Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
“Everyone knows that Boko Haram and its splinter group, ISWAP had their origin in Nigeria however have made violent incursions into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, inflicting instability not simply alongside the borders however deep into the international locations. So President Buhari has his priorities misplaced by saying that his curiosity is the steadiness of Niger. Nigeria, for the time being, is the most important contributor to instability alongside that hall.
“The President needs to be extra involved concerning the many causes of instability in Nigeria, which incorporates the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency, banditry, farmer/herders disaster and widespread kidnappings earlier than making happenings out of the country a significant coverage course.”
Apart the problem of stability and insecurity that the President gave as his causes for deep involvement in Niger, he failed to clarify his heavy financial pursuits in Niger.
DAILY POST recollects that through the flag off of the $1.9 billion Kano-Maradi rail line, President Buhari emphatically mentioned that the completion of the rail line will permit residents of Niger get pleasure from reasonably priced technique of transportation.
He mentioned: “The undertaking, when accomplished, would serve import and export of products for Niger Republic and different international locations within the sub-region by means of Nigerian ports. The nation would earn income by means of enlargement of commerce and commerce, whereas the folks of Niger Republic will profit from ease of transportation logistics at reasonably priced price of their import and export enterprise.”
Apart the usage of Nigerian ports for export and import enterprise, which in fact will deliver income, the rail line that traverses Kano, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina and as much as the border city of Jibiya and the Niger Republic metropolis of Maradi, as offered by the President appears to be closely tilted in financial and social advantages for Nigeriens.
Many analysts are of the view that at a time the nation is battling with gross infrastructural deficit, it turns into unthinkable that the Buhari administration is anxious about constructing a rail line 25 kilometres deep into Niger Republic.
Responding to questions from DAILY POST, Abubakar Jimoh, a marketing consultant with bias for improvement, picked holes in Kano-Maradi rail line, insisting that the transfer by the President smacks of profligacy and ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul.’
“The infrastructural deficit in Nigeria is so large that it’ll take many years and a number of other trillions of Nigeria to repair. The roads are virtually not existent whereas the nation can not for the time being boast of a rail interconnected Nigeria. I’ve no points with having Kano, Jigawa and Katsina linked by rail, however extending it to Maradi in Niger Republic doesn’t make sense to me. And it is because we’re but to deal with what we want infrastructural clever as a nation.
“Once more, we should ask ourselves what the financial advantages are for Nigeria. Speaking about import and export enterprise, how viable will that be? We should do not forget that Nigeriens have been importing and exporting their items by means of another ports prior to now, and naturally, for them to now divert to Nigerian ports will probably be a perform of price and timeliness.
“How viable or how a lot financial and monetary sense will it make for the folks of Niger to patronise Nigerian ports by shifting their items by practice from Maradi, criss-cross Nigeria from Jibiya, Daura, Katsina, Kano and all the best way to the Lagos ports? At what price will that be and for a way lengthy? Are we certain they don’t have higher, cheaper and far more well timed alternate options? These are questions authorities ought to have requested and never simply assume that as a result of Niger is landlocked and since you are constructing a rail line into the nation, companies on the market will mechanically patronize your ports as a result of you’re the huge brother,’’ Jimoh mentioned.
He additionally known as on the federal government to focus extra on offering the wanted infrastructures within the nation, including that if that’s performed, financial advantages will far outweigh regardless of the Kano-Maradi rail line can ever provide.
“The key disadvantage for the financial transformation and improvement in Nigeria is the dearth of infrastructure. No good street for the motion of individuals and items, the nation just isn’t linked with rail to ease transportation wants of companies and the ability wants of Nigerians and industries are usually not being met. If we will repair these three areas, Nigeria will witness a growth. The price of producing energy for enterprise actions, particularly within the manufacturing sector has led to many corporations folding up, whereas some really relocated to different neighbouring international locations. It’s that dangerous”, he mentioned.
Commenting, in an article on President Buhari’s consideration to Niger, a newspaper columnist, Ochereome Nnanna mentioned it was an affront on Nigeria’s nationwide curiosity.
Nnana mentioned: “When Buhari’s authorities in August 2019, “closed the borders” it was the Southern borders that had been really closed. Fatuhu Mohammed, a nephew of President Buhari who represents Daura/Mai’adua/Sandamu Federal Constituency within the Home of Reps alerted throughout a plenary session that smuggling was nonetheless freely thriving on the Daura border, 13 kilometres from Buhari’s nation residence.
“It’s no secret that Niger Republic nationals are commonly smuggled in to vote in Nigerian elections. It was on this dispensation that the political leaders of that nation threw warning to the wind and attended Buhari’s rallies in Kano with massive contingents led by governors of Maradi and Zinder provinces! In case you thought these had been inconsequential and innocent cultural exchanges, Buhari has proved you flawed. He has taken a number of concrete coverage steps that confirmed his engagement with Niger is not a joke.”
Speaking about concrete coverage steps, it could be recalled that the Federal Authorities had in June 2020 introduced the award of contract for the development of 614-km gasoline pipeline from Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano with eventual termination in Morocco by means of Niger Republic value $2.8bn.
Additionally in the identical vein, the administration shocked Nigerians when it signed an MOU for the nation to import petroleum merchandise from a small refinery in Niger Republic.
The Refinery, Soraz positioned in Zinder province, has a each day output of 20,000 barrels. Nonetheless, Nigeria has refineries with mixed capability in extra of 400, 000 barrels per day, however have remained moribund, with the federal government unable to revive them to serve the wants of Nigerians.
Mr Adeagbo Sunkami, in his view, mentioned on the face worth of it, there is probably not something flawed with importing refined petroleum merchandise from neighbouring international locations if Nigerians within the Northern a part of the nation would discover the merchandise cheaper and far more simply obtainable.
“Nonetheless, it’s shameful that President Buhari, who as Petroleum minister within the 1979s supervised the constructing of the second Port Harcourt, the Warri and Kaduna refineries, and has been the Minister of Petroleum since 2015 underneath his presidency, has not been capable of do something to repair the refineries.
“There have to be one thing Nigerians are usually not being instructed regarding the refineries and why of all locations, it’s Niger we’re trying as much as for refined merchandise. At what time did the refinery in Niger come on stream that Nigeria can not repair her personal? What has Buhari performed as oil minister since 2015 and why are Nigerians not asking questions? It’s really shameful how low issues have turn into”, Sunkanmi mentioned, sounding agitated.
A human rights activist and critic, Segun Progress believes what is going on with the Buhari administration, because it considerations Niger Republic is greater than what individuals are saying. In keeping with him, President Buhari is barely utilizing the nation’s sources to develop his ‘first nation, a rustic he holds extra allegiance to than Nigeria.
“There had been talks about President Buhari’s ancestry however in our peculiar manner, we dismissed every part believing it was political. However right here we’re with Buhari proving doubting ‘Thomases’ flawed and displaying the place he really belongs.
“Don’t be shocked to see extra pro-Niger Republic insurance policies earlier than the expiration of the President’s tenure in 2023. And no matter pro-Niger tasks which might be on or will probably be embarked upon will probably be performed in such a manner that they’re virtually accomplished or have sturdy agreements that may make their termination virtually unimaginable.
“What I, nonetheless, discover intriguing is the silence of Southern leaders, who appear to have misplaced their voices within the ongoing anomalies. I doubt whether it is as a result of they don’t see something flawed with what the President is doing however as a result of they’ve bought out their souls, and their conscience not energetic due to the crumbs that come to them, whereas others are merely blinded by ambitions which will by no means see daylight,’’ Progress mentioned.