Wike gives eight-month deadline for Abuja light rail completion

Wike gives eight-month deadline for Abuja light rail completion

by Joseph Anthony
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The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, frowned at the dysfunctional state of the Abuja light rail and directed the permanent secretary to complete payment to the Chinese concession company in order to conclude rehabilitation of the rails within eight months.

Wike gave the ultimatum during an inspection of the Abuja Metro Station in Idu and at the Airport Station on his first assignment outside the office, less than 48 hours after the swearing-in of the 45 new ministers.

He further asserted that the task of restoring the Abuja metro had become crucially fundamental as part of President Bola Tinubu’s promise to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians within the shortest possible time.

At the main terminal of the metro station, Wike, flanked by the Minister of State for FCT, Mairiga Mahmud, and other officials, addressed the contractors, questioning the quality of work.

Proceeding on the tour, the FCT minister took the train ride from the metro station, through the Idu Station and then to the Airport Station.

The rails, originally developed in six phases, were funded with loans from the China EXIM Bank. After the vandalisation of the vital rail infrastructure, the FCT Administration awarded a fresh N5 billion contract in August 2023 for its rehabilitation within 12 months.

The Abuja light rail commissioned at the metro station opened for business in 2018 and operated for about two years before the train service folded up, owing largely to vandalism.

Wike, who is the first southerner to become minister of the FCT, hopes to present a rehabilitated rail system to the President for commissioning by April 2024.

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