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The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari is expected to commission the recently completed first Phase of the Abuja Light Rail Project on Thursday, July 12, 2018. The president would also be expected to flag-off the railway services signalling the commencement of operations of the long-awaited rail services in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. The Phase, which comprises Lots 1A and 3, is only an integral part of the six Lots which form the scope of the FCT railway system.

The event would take place in the Abuja Metro Station, in the Central Business District – the flagship of the twelve completed railway stations under this package. The 45.245km of standard guage rail line running between the Dr, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to the Abuja Metro Station.  

The project, which was completed by the present Administration, has been in the works for over 11 years. Inherited at 63 percent completion, the remaining 37 percent was fast-tracked to completion within the two years of the current Administration by dint of resolute commitment to prudent management of resources.  

The commissioning would mark formal commencement of rail service and the fulfilment of a long awaited dream for a modern state-of-the-art mass transit systems for the FCT.

Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has solicited the partnership of the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure a hitch free operation of the Abuja rail mass transit system.

In a meeting with officials of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC),  FCT Minister, last week, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello stated that the administration would require the support, supervision and guidance of the regulators for a smooth take-off.

Malam Bello, who disclosed that some skeletal staff have already been employed to start some of the operations, added that the expertise and experience of NRC would also be indispensable.  

According to him, “Based on your observations and your guidance, we will really appreciate support from you so that we start a skeletal thing as we don’t want a situation whereby Mr. President commissions the project on the 12th of July and we just shut up shop. We intend to run it from the Airport to the Central Business District gradually for the people to know about it, for us to go through the learning curve.”

Responding the General Manager of NRC Engr. Fidet Ohiria pledged the support of the Corporation towards the successful operations of the Abuja Light Rail Projects. These, he said, would include, capacity building, personnel and certification. According to him, though the law permits states to run railways, the NRC is willing to support the efforts by ensuring the needed support and effective regulation of the industry.

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