President Muhammadu Buhari says the Abuja metro rail line is a dream come true.
The president said this after he inaugurated the line and took a ride from the Abuja metro station to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, signalling the commencement of operations of the long-awaited rail services in the federal capital territory (FCT) Abuja.
He charged the FCT administration, especially, the management of the rail services, to ensure efficient operations, good customer service and maintenance culture.
The ceremony took place at the new metro station in central business district (CBD), Abuja.
The president said the project accomplishment is a demonstration of his administration’s commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects and keeping with the ideals of the change agenda to ensure prudence in the management of public resources.
He described transportation as the live wire of any city, expressing optimism that a modern rail service would boost to the FCT economy and enhance social life.
“The completion of this very important project is a dream come true, and clearly demonstrates our administration’s commitment to the realization of critical infrastructural projects,” he said.
“The Abuja Light Rail System is further evidence that we are a government that delivers on its promises. A modern rail service will greatly boost the FCT economy and enhance social life.”
The 45.245km standard guage rail line from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to the Abuja Metro Station is the first of its kind in West Africa and took over 11 years to complete.
The project financed through counterpart-funding with the China Export Import (Exim) Bank on the basis of 60 per cent from the Chinese and 40 percent from the FCT administration.
It will link 13 communities with 12 stations at the Abuja Metro, Stadium, Kukwaba 1 and 2, Wupa, Idu, Bassanjiwa, Airport, Gwagwa Dei-Dei, Kagini and Gbazango.
The minister of FCT, Muhammad Bello, said Buhari only inaugurated phase 1 of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project (ARMTP), adding that the FCTA was already working on phase II of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project to cover a distance of 32.54km from Nnamdi Azikwe Expressway at Garki Area I via the Transportation Centre to Gwagwa and from Bazango Station to Kubwa.
Bello added that the federal executive council approved the project in 2017 for construction by CCECC at a cost of US$1.3 billion, expressing the hope that the ministry of finance would consider putting project which he described as key in the next borrowing plans.
“The Abuja rail system is packaged into 6 Lots planned for phased development, based on preferential demand and available financial resources,” he said.
“The Abuja Rail Mass Transit System is planned to integrate with the National Rail Network when eventually completed.
“The Abuja rail is divided into Six (6) Lots and with total length of 290 kilometres. The Lots are: Lot 1: From Nnamdi Azikwe Expressway through the Transportation Centre (Metro Station) via Gwagwa to Kubwa; Lot 2: From Gwagwa via Transportation Centre (Metro Station) to Nyanya/Karu; and Lot 3: From Transportation Centre via Idu Industrial Zone to Nanmadi Azikwe International Airport.”
Others are Lot 4: From Kuje Satellite town to Karshi Satellite town with the remaining legs of the Transit way line 2; Lot 5: From Kubwa via Bwari to Suleja; and Lot 6: From Airport via Kuje and Gwagwalada to Dobi.
Lot 1A: starts at Idu Industrial Zone via Gwagwa-Diedie and terminates at Gbazango Station in Kubwa (18km); Lot 3: runs from Abuja Metro Station via Idu Industrial Zone and terminates at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (27.3km).