President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presided over the virtual groundbreaking ceremony of the rail line to connect Nigeria and Niger.
The rail project will link Kano-Katsina to Jibiya-Maradi.
In his remarks, Buhari directed the Ministries of Transportation and Finance to conclude financial arrangements for the construction of the West-East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar.
He said the West-East Coastal rail line will connect Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.
Buhari confirmed that the contract for the Central Railway traversing Itakpe-Baro-Abuja with connection to Lokoja and a new seaport in Warri had been signed.
He said the project is expected to achieve an appreciable level of completion during the tenure of this administration.
The President noted that the cities of Jibiya and Maradi constitute a significant trading core between Nigeria and the Niger Republic.
Buhari pointed out that the entire route encompasses territory inhabited by close to 80 million people across 10 states of the country.
The Nigerian leader said the Kano-Maradi project, when completed, would serve import and export of goods for the Niger Republic and other countries in the sub-region through Nigerian ports.
The rail line will also foster Trans-Sahara trade and contribute to the expected gains in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the President added.