Rights group threatens to sue Buhari over railways to Niger Republic

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has described the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari government to build railways from Kano to Niger Republic with borrowed Chinese money as fraudulent and against Nigeria’s security interests.

HURIWA also threatened to sue President Muhammadu Buhari in order to stop the multi-billion naira project.

A Statement by HURIWA on Thursday, signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, strongly condemned the approval of about $1.96 billion contracts of the proposed project.

The human rights group described the planned project as a misplaced priority and a grave threat to national security, insisting that it is fraudulent to borrow from China and build for Niger Republic and then tax Nigerians to pay back.

The Federal Government had yesterday approved a $1,959,744,723.71 contract for a rail line that would link Nigeria to Niger Republic.

The railways 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.

HURIWA said that the project is another proof of misplacement of priority by the Buhari regime.

However, the rights group described the project as a ticking time bomb and a grave threat to National security, adding that when completed, it will ease the influx of illegal aliens into Nigeria.

“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,” the group said.

“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 destabilize 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.

“Generally, illegal immigration in Nigeria is a serious problem and the border has become quite porous. According to authorities, people from Niger are the 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 carry out 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.”

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