By Patience Danjuma
The Abuja light rail system was on Thursday inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The modern rail system, according to Buhari, clearly demonstrates the administration’s commitment to addressing critical infrastructural project and brings about a boost to the FCT economy and enhance social life in the city.
Buhari said, “I am very pleased to be here today to formally commission the Abuja Light Rail System. The completion of this very important project is a dream-come-true. I commend the Hon. Minister of FCT for the hard work and sense of purpose towards the realization of this long-awaited modern transportation system for both FCT residents and visitors.
“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.
“Transportation is the live wire of any city. I am very optimistic that a modern rail service would bring about a boost to the FCT economy and greatly enhance social life. I am aware that what we have on ground today are coaches meant to provide skeletal services as we await the main set of the rolling stock for full operations.
“I have been briefed on the outcome of the Hon. Ministers of F.C.T and Finance recent visit to China, during which the MOUs and agreements for the procurements of the main rolling stock were signed.”
The President gave assurance of the Federal Government’s continued support for the negotiations towards the realization of the Abuja Light Rail system.
The commissioning of the light rail in the Federal Capital Territory, he said, is another evidence that his government is delivering on its promises.
Buhari added, “I have observed keenly other milestones that this administration has achieved, especially in the areas of education, public utilities and infrastructure development.
“I commend the efforts of the Hon. Minister of FCT as well as the support and patience of the residents, while we are working to improve the city’s transportation service.
“I am thankful to the Government and people of China for their investment in the Nigerian economy. I commend the CCECC Limited – the Contracting Firm, for the quality of work and timely delivery of this project.
“Let me place on record the Nigerian government’s appreciation to the Government of China and the EXIM Bank of China for their support on this and many other projects currently being executed in the country.
“This gesture further cements the already existing cordial relations and developmental partnership between Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China. I would also like to thank our Nigerian Consultants, Messrs Transurb Technirail Consult Limited for their services.”
Buhari urged the FCT Administration, especially, the management of the rail services, to ensure efficient operations, good customer service and maintenance culture in the operations punctuality of the rail.
President Buhari also visited the new terminal building at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on an inspection tour of the facility.
Buhari was taken on a tour of the facilities by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
The building is expected to the completed in August according to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractor handling the project.
The President, who rode to the airport on the newly commissioned train, left the airport by 12:13 pm in a helicopter marked NAF-541.
On the impact of the rail on the aviation sector, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said, “It will make things easy and it will be seamless. People will come from the light rail and straight into the aircraft and vice versa. Transportation will be more efficient and that is the whole essence of transportation by air.
“It will also allow people to connect to their businesses and workplaces in much faster time than before.
“It will reduce the pressure on our roads, ease traffic congestion on all the arteries that leads to airports around the world. So Abuja would be a classic example of multi-modern integration and transportation which eases things and makes them better.”