Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has defended the $1.9billion spent on the Nigeria-Niger Republic railway project.

The president defended his decision to construct railways and roads extending into Niger Republic during an interview on Arise Television on Thursday.

Buhari said borders were drawn by the French colonialists, who did not take into cognisance the cultural similarities of the people of Niger and Nigeria.

He said the reason the railway is being constructed is to boost the friendly relationship with Niger.

Buhari said, “If you recall, when I came, I went to Chad, I went to Niger, I went to Cameroon. Look at what happened with Boko Haram. If we were not in a good relationship with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, Boko Haram would have done worse things to us and you say I am going to Niger.

“I told you the border between us and Niger is 1, 500km. And Niger (sic). I spoke to one French man and I had to tell him this. He spoke nonsense and I told him look, in 1885, you sat down and drew lines (boundaries). I said I have first cousins in Niger. There are Kanuris, there are Hausas, there are Fulanis in Niger Republic just as there are Yorubas in Benin. You can’t absolutely cut them off.”

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