- Buhari charges FCT on smooth operations
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the Abuja Rail Mass Transit System for the transportation of commuters and goods between the satellite towns and the metropolis.
The President, in his remarks at the ceremony at the train station in the Central Area of the city, also charged the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the management of the system to ensure efficient operations, good customer service and maintenance culture in the operations, enjoining them to also ensure the punctuality of the rail.
The project, which started eleven years ago at the cost of US$823,540,545.87, was funded 60% by the China -Exim Bank and 40% by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The Abuja Rail System is packaged into 6 Lots planned for phased development, based on preferential demand and available financial resources. The Abuja Rail Mass Transit System is planned to integrate with the National Rail Network when eventually completed.
The President, who described the project as a dream come true, commended the FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, for his dedication and prudent management of resources to deliver the project.
He said, “This accomplishment clearly demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects and keeping with the ideals of the Change Agenda to ensure prudence in the management of public resources, value for money considering the huge investments in this project.”
Buhari noted that the coaches on ground were meant to commence skeletal services; but assured that his administration would support the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in the FCT recently with Chinese authorities.
The President expressed appreciation to the government and people of China for their investments in Nigerian economy; the CCECC Limited, the contractor, for the quality work delivered.
He also acknowledged the support of the China EXIM Bank just as he thanked the Nigerian Consultants, Messrs Transurb Technirail Consult Limited for their services.
According to the FCT minister, who also spoke at the commissioning ceremony yesterday, “The scope of work for the project include 45.3km of double standard gauge rail tracks, a maintenance deport, training school, operations control centre and 12 Stations: Abuja Metro Station, Stadium Station, Kukwaba I (National Park Station), Kukwaba II (Ring Road Station), Wupa Station, Idu Station, Bassanjiwa Station, Airport Station, Gwagwa Station, Deidei Station, Kagini Station and Gbazango Station.
“The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has also taken delivery of the three coaches meant for initial operations, while awaiting the arrival of the rolling stock of 48 coaches. To this effect, the FCTA has concluded an infrastructure soft loan agreement with Exim Bank of China for the supply of the remaining coaches, including their maintenance for three years at a cost of US$194,008,602.43. The Bank would fund the project to the tune of US$157,001,049.89 (85%), while the FCTA would bring in a counterpart fund of US$37,007,552.54 (15%).”