On behalf of staff and management of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), it’s my honour and pleasure to welcome Your Excellency Mr. President and all other distinguished guests present here to the commissioning ceremony of phase 1 of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project (ARMTP).
2. The Abuja Rail Mass Transit System is an integral part of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Transportation Master Plan designed primarily to transport large number of commuters and goods between Satellite Towns into the Metropolitan Public Transport system and the different Phases of the Federal Capital City (FCC). 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.
3. The Abuja rail is divided into Six (6) Lots and with total length of 290 kilometres. The Lots are:
· Lot 1: From Nnamdi Azikwe Expressway through the Transportation Centre (Metro Station) via Gwagwa to Kubwa;
· Lot 2: From Gwagwa via Transportation Centre (Metro Station) to Nyanya/Karu;
· Lot 3: From Transportation Centre via Idu Industrial Zone to Nanmadi Azikwe International Airport;
· Lot 4: From Kuje Satellite town to Karshi Satellite town with the remaining legs of the Transit way line 2;
· Lot 5: From Kubwa via Bwari to Suleja; and
· Lot 6: From Airport via Kuje and Gwagwalada to Dobi
4. Implementation of the project has been divided into phases, with phase 1 being what we are commissioning today.
5. The segment consists of Lot 1A & 3 with a total length of 45.3 kilometres.
Lot 1A: starts at Idu Industrial Zone via Gwagwa-Diedie and terminates at Gbazango Station in Kubwa (18km);
Lot 3: runs from Abuja Metro Station via Idu Industrial Zone and terminates at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (27.3km).
Both Lots connect at the Idu Station to enable easy passenger transfer with the National Rail line linking Kaduna and Abuja.
6. The project costUS$823,540,545.87 funded 60% by the China – Exim Bank and 40% by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
7. Scope of work 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.
8. 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 ofUS$194,008,602.43. The Bank would fund the project to the tune ofUS$157,001,049.89 (85%), while the FCTA would bring in a counterpart fund of US$37,007,552.54 (15%).
9. Mr. President, distinguished guests, I wish to inform you that the rail tracks, signalling, stations and other infrastructure were completed in December, 2017, 6 months ago. In line with International best practices, we spent 2 months testing the rail system without passengers, one month with passengers. I am pleased to state that the Federal Ministry of Transportation after working closely with our team of Engineers, the Construction Company China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and the project Consultants, Messrs Transurb Technirail Ltd has granted the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project (ARMT) (Lot 3 & Lot 1A) Safety Certificate for Commercial Operations. We have also worked and are working closely with the
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in the implementation of the project and they have granted relevant approvals for operations.
10. I am pleased to inform Mr. President and distinguished guests that the FCTA is working on phase II of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project to cover a distance of 32.54km fromNnamdi Azikwe Expressway at Garki Area I via the Transportation Centre toGwagwa and from Bazango Stationto Kubwa. The Federal Executive Council approved the project in 2017 for construction by CCECC at a cost of US$1.3billion. We hope that the Minister of Finance would consider putting this key project in the next borrowing plans, the Minister of Budget and National Planning would agree to it, the National Assembly would approved it and that China – Exim Bank would fund it as a mark of goodwill for the cordial relationship between our two countries.
11. As you commission this project, Mr. President, I wish to acknowledge with great appreciation the role played by past Ministers of the FCT and their respective staff for initiating this project and nurturing it over the years. Our appreciation also goes to the China – Exim Bank, the Consultants, the Contractors, CCECC and Julius Berger Plc handling projects in the Central Business District for timely completion of the access road to the Station and the Communities along the rail corridor and their leaders for the support they have rendered to this project. The FCTA Engineers and other support staff that have worked tirelessly over the years are worthy of mention. I have worked very closely with them during the last 21/2 years. Their professionalism and commitment is very commendable, Mr. President. My colleagues the Ministers
of Budget & National Planning, Transport and Finance have been very supportive to this project. I wish to thank the Minister of State, Aviation and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for their collaboration in ensuring connectivity of the Airport rail station with the new airport terminal building to be completed shortly. The FCT Committees of the National Assembly through relevant Appropriation Bills and oversight functions have assisted in no small way in the success of this project. We are externally grateful.
Mr. President, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the project we are commissioning today is a reflection of the very cordial and brotherly relation Nigeria has with the Peoples Republic of China. We are thankful for this and the role played by His Excellency the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian.
Above all, this project would not have been completed without the support of Mr. President whose emphasis on completing ongoing infrastructure projects that have impact on the welfare of the citizens has been the guiding principle of the FCTA. We thank Mr. President for his inspiring leadership.
Finally, we are grateful to Allah (SWT) who has made all this possible.
God bless the FCTA
God bless Nigeria