UPDATE 1-Portugal's Moto-Engil to build Nigeria-Niger rail line - minister

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LAGOS, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Portugal’s largest builder Mota-Engil has won the contract to build a railway line between Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Nigeria’s Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi said on Monday.

The contract, which will link the northern Nigerian city of Kano with Niger’s Maradi, is expected to be worth nearly $2 billion, according to a budget approved by Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council last year.

“Today, we signed the contract documents for the commencement of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse railway project,” Amaechi wrote in a tweet.

Mota-Engil had also agreed to build a university as part of the agreement, he added.

The scheme is part of a government plan to build rail networks across Nigeria to address the poor transport infrastructure that has stymied economic growth for decades.

Nigeria’s government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has sought to rebuild the impoverished north of the country, parts of which have been ravaged for the past decade by Islamist insurgents.

A separate project seeks to connect the Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos and Kano. (Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Andrew Heavens)