Tinubu Flags-Off Abuja Rail, Declares 6-Month Free Ride

By: Wisdom Acka & Okeke Makuochukwu

President Bola Tinubu has declared a six-month-free ride on the Abuja Light Rail.

The President made this declaration while relaunching the rehabilitated Abuja mass rail transit at its Airport Station on Wednesday.

He said: “Our dear Landlord and his team, I heard you saying two months free ride, I appeal to you to make it till end of the year.”

Expressing gratitude to Nigerians for the opportunity to serve, the President said: “It is my immense pride and gratitude that I stand before you to flag-off the relaunch of commercial operation of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit known commonly as Abuja Metro.”

He explained that his administration continued with the project it inherited because of his desire to have a functional and flourishing capital.

“The Abuja Metro was inherited by my administration from my predecessor. It was first commissioned in 2018 for public use but this is not to be….COVID-19 stroke, the train service was abandoned; vandalized then, misused and abused,” he said.

“When we came to office, in desire to have a functional and flourishing Federal Capital with efficient public infrastructure and transportation that will serve the people who live and work within the City and the surrounding communities, I made a request, a public request and a challenge to Nyesom Wike,” Tinubu added.

“I did not know that he would be able to deliver this project on time, I said don’t give me land, Mr. Landlord, give me the assurance that I will be able to ride on the Metro line; he laughed and noded his head. I am very proud that today you delivered on that promise,” Mr. President emphasized.

“The commencement of this project is a dream come true for all of us,” Tinubu stressed.

Commending the Nyesom Wike-led FCT Administration, the President said: “This accomplishment by the FCT Administration is a demonstation of serious commitment to value -a charter that we all should embrace in this country.”

“Mr. Project, I say thank you very much to you and your team. In keeping with the ideals of the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’, you have, with your team demonstrated unusual capacity to really include people. Thank you very much once again.
The huge investment that you saved and put on this project is there for people to remember,” he reiterated.

Speaking on the significance of project, the President stated: “Abuja Light Rail stands as a symbol of progress, connectivity, inclusiveness. It represents our determination to modenize our transportation infrastructure, reduce traffic congestion in the City and enhance accessibility to all residents and visitors.”

His words: “Transportation give the hope and access to the various individuals and organizations, for here we are, at the last review, the access roads to the various stations is not been done, but today we are proudly saying you are truly serving the nation, and that is the critical element of our new national anthem adopted. It’s all about service. You are proud to serve your mother land. Thanks.”

He continued: “Today, what we have in the Federal Capital Territory is another piece of evidence that we are a government that delivers on promises. I observe keenly other milestones that this administration has achieved, especially in the areas of social services and other public utilities.”

“In view of keeping to the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’, you and your team have demonstrated unusual capacity,” he stated.

FCT Minister, speaking earlier, thanked the President for the privilege to be part of his ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’.

Wike revealed that at the time the President gave him marching orders that he would ride on the train to commemorate his one year in office, the rail system was not functional.

According to him, the Abuja Rail was not functional because there was no provision of access roads linking the various stations.

He disclosed that though contract for rehabilitation of the rail was given in 2018 at 30 million USD, while that for the training of workers for the rail was given at 128 million USD for a period of 29 months.

Wike expressed gratitude to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation; saying it could not have been a reality without their support.

He also stated that his Administration was able to renegotiate the initial 128 million USD training contract sum down to 79 million USD, saving about 50 million USD.

“Then the access roads, which costs ₦21 billion are all completed, linking the various stations, as at today. So when we talk about ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ it is not mere talk, is a reality,” he said.

“And we want to use Abuja to showcase that the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ is working and it’s practical”, Wike stated.

Similarly, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud on her part thanked the President, Vice President, Lawmakers and others and noted that the event marked “not only the inauguration of a modern transportation system but also a testament to the power of collaboration and determination in bringing about positive change.”

Mahmoud also thanked those involved in “planning, designing, constructing, and now operating this remarkable feat”; saying their “hard work, dedication, and unwavering commitment has made this day possible.”

The Minister of State, therefore, called on FCT residents to work together, “As we embark on this new chapter, let us continue to work together to harness the full potential of this infrastructure for the benefit of our community and generations to come.”