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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, will on Thursday, this week, commission the recently completed first Phase of the Abuja Light Rail Project.
President Buhari with Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki, at the commissioning of Abuja-Kaduna segment of the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project in Idu Abuja on 26th July 2016
The commissioning will, however mark the 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.
The project, which was completed by the present Administration, has been in the works for over 11 years, just as it was inherited at 63 percent completion, the remaining 37 percent was fast-tracked to completion by the current Administration.
President Is also 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.
In a statement yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Cosmas Uzodinma, the event will 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 is the first of its kind in West Africa.
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), last week, FCT Minister, 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 and 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 running of the Abuja Light Rail Project. This, 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 giving the needed support and ensuring effective regulation of the industry.
This article first appeared on www.vanguardngr.com
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