A Chinese contractor has began construction of a first free-of-charge transport university in the town of Daura in Nigeria, near the Niger border. When completed in 18 months’ time, the university will produce managers and technicians for Nigeria’s rapidly growing rail and road networks.
US $50m pioneer project
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) said it would cover the US $50m cost of the scheme as part of its corporate social responsibility. Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the scheme which will be built on a 413ha site, President Buhari said that the university was the first of its kind in Africa, and would bring rapid development to Nigeria’s transport sector and generate employment opportunities for Nigerians.
“When established, the university will, among other things, pave the way for the domestication of railway engineering and general transportation sciences in Nigeria, thereby bridging the technology and skill gap in the railway and ultimately transportation sector,” the President said. The president equally praised CCECC for its generosity and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for suggesting the scheme.
Promoting China’s relationship with Nigeria
The project is also intended to deepen China’s relationship with Africa’s largest economy. Rotimi Amaechi, the Nigeria’s transport minister, noted that the project would go a long way to enhance the existing bilateral relationship between China and Nigeria, as well as encourage patronage of local content. The Minister further said that the project will enable the country construct and even maintain its own railways due to knowledge transfer.
CCECC also revealed that it is training some 150 Nigerian students in railway engineering in China, as well as building a railway rolling stock assembly plant in Kajola, a town in the southwestern state of Ogun. Jiang Yigao, the managing director of CCECC’s Nigerian subsidiary, explained that the aim of the university was to establish a domestic railway industry.