FCT flags off rehabilitation of Abuja rail mass transit system

By Hudu Yakubu, Abuja 

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Authority of the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Friday flagged off the commencement of the rehabilitation of Abuja Rail Mass Transit (ARMT) System to further ease the challenge of transportation system in the territory.

While inaugurating the exercise, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, said the move was to restore the vital transportation infrastructure, which he described as the “life blood of Abuja city”.

The project would be delivered by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC), at the cost of five billion naira within a period of 12 months.

According to the permanent secretary, the Abuja light rail system will play a crucial role in easing transportation challenges and enhancing mobility for residents.

He explained that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the temporary shutdown of the rail system as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

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He added sadly, that during the period of inactivity, hoodlums vandalised essential equipment of the rail system, describing the incident as a “serious setback”.

The permanent secretary said that contracts for the provision of security for the ARMT System have been awarded.

“We are taking stringent measures to safeguard this valuable asset. We will not allow the actions of a few vandals to undermine the progress and potential of this essential public service.

“We will leave no stone unturned in restoring the Abuja Light Rail System to its former glory and ensuring it surpasses its previous performance,” he said.

He explained that the rehabilitation would involve the repair and replacement of damaged equipment, upgrading of facilities, and implementing modern security measures to protect against future threats.

He assured residents that the process would be expedited without compromising on quality, and “we will soon witness the return of a more efficient and reliable transportation system.

“This is because revitalisation of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit System is not just about repairing physical infrastructure; it is a testament to the resilience of our city and its people.

“It showcases our determination to overcome challenges and our unwavering commitment to the welfare of our citizens.

“It is a demonstration of our government’s dedication to creating an enabling environment for economic growth and social well-being,” he said.

The Director of Transportation, FCTA, Mr. Joseph Akinteye, explained that the ARMT system rehabilitation project, consisting of Lots 1 A and 3, which span 45.245 kilometres (km), would be delivered at five billion naira.

Akinteye explained that the ARMT system phase 1, which comprises Lots 1 and 3, made up of 77.775 km out of the six Lots designated by the Transportation Master plan was awarded in 2007.

He, however, said that only Lots 1 A and 3, made up of 45.245 km was completed in 2017, commissioned in 2018, and followed by a trial operation service which lasted for 20 months.

“Unfortunately, the trial service ended abruptly in March 2020, due to the advent of COVID- 19 pandemic and its extent protocols,” he said.

He said that the rehabilitation when completed, would bring back the Metro Line services.

According to him, the ripple impacts would be an immense relief to the present unpleasant effects of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians and especially the FCT residents.

The Managing Director, CCECC, Mr. Wang Xixue, said that the successful commencement of rehabilitation of the vandalised components of the ARMT system was critical to the development of the transportation system in the FCTA.

He said that rehabilitation expected to be completed in 12 months would be completed as soon as possible.

He said that the project will involve the rehabilitation of the vandalised components of Lot 1A and Lot 3, clear obstacles, and pave the way for resuming the commercial operation of the ARMT system.

“As a socially responsible company, we are concerned about the development of the public transport system in FCTA and within Nigeria.

“We will maintain close cooperation with relevant stakeholders, to contribute to the development of an advanced public railway transport system.,” he said.