President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, announced that Nigerians and other commuters would enjoy free train rides on the Abuja Metro Line until the end of the year. 

The President made this declaration while flagging off the re-launch of commercial operations on the Abuja Light Rail.

"Our dear Landlord, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), I have heard you say there will be free train rides for two months. I want to appeal to you to make it until the end of the year. Let us give the people reasons to celebrate,’’ the President said before taking a 40-minute ride from the metro station to the airport station. 

He described the operations on the Abuja Metro Line as a symbolic milestone of enduring progress as a country and in the FCT. 

"As we gather to commemorate the first anniversary of my administration, we are also celebrating the fruits of collaboration, dedication, progress, and foresightedness.

"The Abuja Metro was inherited by my administration from my predecessor. It was first commissioned in 2018 for public use, but this was not to be. COVID-19 struck. The train service was abandoned, vandalized, disused, and abused. 

"When we came into office, as part of my desire to have a functional and flourishing FCT with efficient public infrastructure and transportation systems that will serve the people who live and work within the city and the surrounding communities, I made a public request and a challenge to the Minister, Nyesom Wike. 

"Then, I did not know that he would be able to deliver this project on time. I said, 'Do not give me land, Mr. Landlord'. He gave me the assurance that I will be able to ride on the metro line, and I am very proud that today you delivered on that promise," the President said.

President Tinubu highlighted the significance of transportation in providing hope to the people and commended the completion of access roads to the various train stations. 

"Transportation gives hope and access to various individuals and organizations. The access roads to the various stations have been done, and today, we are proud to say that you are truly serving the nation," the President said.

President Tinubu, who described service to the nation as a critical element of the ‘new national anthem’ adopted and signed into law earlier on Wednesday, urged Nigerians to remain dedicated to the service of the nation.  

Referring to the Abuja Metro Line as a symbol of unity and enhanced accessibility, President Tinubu reiterated his administration's commitment to delivering on its promises. 

"What we have in the FCT is another piece of evidence that we are a government that delivers on promises," the President affirmed.

In his remarks, the Minister of the FCT recounted how the President’s directive at a public event in September 2023 spurred the FCT administration into action. 

He noted that while the metro line was initially inaugurated in 2018, it lacked essential access roads and remained non-functional. 

He said the project was actualized within nine months under President Tinubu’s administration.

He, however, disclosed that with the intervention of the President, the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, and the Accountant General of the Federation, facilitated the payment of the contract sum of $30 million, which was previously unpaid, to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the contractors. 

Barrister Wike also revealed that the construction of access roads cost N21.4 billion. 

The Minister emphasized that the successful operationalization of the metro line is a testament to the reality and great possibilities of the Renewed Hope Agenda. 

"We have given back renewed hope to the people. The Renewed Hope Agenda is real, working, and practical. This station stands as a promise made and a promise kept," the Minister said. 

In an overview of the project, the FCT Mandate Secretary for Transportation, Chinedu Elechi stated that the Abuja Metro Line has 12 trains with each having the capacity of carrying at least 700 passengers while making 14 trips per day.

He said Lot 1 and 2 of the metro line would run two trips simultaneously every day, thereby having a cumulative capacity of transporting 980,000 passengers monthly in the Federal Capital Territory.

"All the ancillary roads to the four train stations and car parks have been constructed and delivered, thereby making today’s launch of commercial operations of the metro line possible,” the Mandate Secretary stated.

Vice President Kashim Shettima; Senate President Godswill Akpabio; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas; the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; members of the Federal Executive Council and other dignitaries accompanied the President on the train ride. 

Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President 
(Media & Publicity) 
May 29, 2024

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