30 August 2013, Lagos – Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has expressed the federal government’s readiness to collaborate with the Government of Cote d’Ivoire in combating piracy in West Africa territorial waters.
Umar, who disclosed this while receiving the Minister of Transport of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Gaoussou Toure, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja, said the joint efforts between both countries became necessary, in order to completely stamp out the nefarious activities of the pirates and armed robbers on the West African coastline.
He enjoined his Cote d’Ivoire counterpart to come out with any suggestion that would bring about a lasting solution to this menace.
A statement issued in Abuja quoted Umar as confirming President Goodluck Jonathan’s determination to stem the tide of piracy along the territorial waters of Nigeria, even as he pointed out that Nigeria already has bilateral relations with the Government of the Republic of Benin on maritime safety and also noted that the relationship is yielding positive results for the two countries.
According to the statement, which was signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Transport, Mrs. Yetunde Sonaike, the federal government will also wish to partner the government of Cote d’Ivoire in the development of railway services that will link other African countries.
He explained that these rail linkages will not only boost the transport sector but also improve trade relationship among the countries in the West Africa Sub-region. Umar told his counterpart that feasibility studies to align the various corridors on the West Africa rail line are ongoing.
While thanking Toure for coming to his ministry, he also spoke extensively on the massive investment of the federal government in the transport sector especially the rehabilitation and modernisation of rail infrastructure within the country.
According to him, the federal government has rehabilitated ninety per cent of existing narrow gauge rail line one of which is the Lagos-Kano rail line and also embarked on the modernisation of railway tracks with double gauge between Abuja and Kaduna, which is expected to be completed soon.
He added that feasibility studies on modernisation of railway projects in other parts of the country are ongoing. He therefore called on both foreign and local investors to invest in the transport sector in African countries so as to boost their economy stressing that government cannot do it alone.
Toure had earlier told Umar that he was in the ministry to seek federal government’s assistance and partnership in the areas of transport, aviation, roads and trade and investments. He added that his country has plans to partner with other African countries to jointly construct rail linkages from Abidjan-Accra-Benin-Lagos.
He said Nigeria being a hub of economic activities in Africa has developed its infrastructural facilities to the level that it can lend support to other African countries including Cote d’Ivoire, calling on Nigeria investors to come and invest in his country’s economy.
– John Iwori, This Day