From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday commissioned the Lot 1A and Lot 3 of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit with a promise of federal government support for the negotiations towards the completion of the second phase of the Light Rail system.
The 1435mm standard gauge project, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, covers a total length of 45.3 km.
The president commissioned the project constructed at the revised fee of $824m at the Abuja Metro Station.
Accompanied by some members of his cabinet and the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, the president later embarked on a guided tour of the Idu Control and Operation Centre and the International Airport Train Terminal.
Buhari described transportation as the live wire of any city, stressing he is optimistic that a modern rail service would boost the FCT economy and greatly enhance its social life.
He urged the FCT administration, especially the management of the rail services, to ensure efficient operations, punctuality, good customer service and maintenance culture in the operations of the rail.
“Today, what we have in the FCT is another evidence that we are a government that delivers on its promises. I have observed keenly other milestones that this administration has achieved, especially in the areas of education, public utilities and infrastructure development,” Buhari said.
FCT Minister Muhammad Musa Bello, said the Abuja Rail Mass Transit System was made up of 6 Lots and would be linked with the National Rail Network when eventually completed.
He announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved for construction by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) the construction of phase II of the rail project to cover a distance of 32.54km from Nnamdi Azikwe Expressway at Garki Area l via the transportation Centre to Gwagwa and from Bazango Station to Kubwa at the cost of $1.3billion to be funded by China Exim Bank.