FCT Minister, Wike Unveils Abuja Metro Rail Line With 60-Day Free Rides

By Damilare Adeleye

Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, has announced that the Abuja Metro rail line will commence commercial operations on May 27, 2024, with free train rides for the first two months.

Wike revealed this during a ministerial sectoral press briefing on Thursday, adding that his administration has prioritised the operationalisation of the rail line, which was merely commissioned as a building by the previous administration of former FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello.

Giving account of his administration’s first year, Wike said he is tackling the issues of infrastructure, security and education in the federal capital

He also mentioned that civil servants in the FCTA are now motivated to do their job better following the establishment of the FCT Civil Service Commission.

“When we came in, civil servants were not in a position to put in their best, because they could not attain the peak of their careers. Before this administration, they were stagnated, but when we came on board we looked at the law passed by the National Assembly which was passed by the previous administration. Mr President approved the immediate implementation of that law and today we have the FCT Civil Service Commission and Head of Service.

“We found out that one of the problems inhibiting infrastructural growth in the FCT is the Treasury Single Account (TSA), because we restricted, we couldn’t even utilize our IGR as we see fit, Mr President approved that we should pull out from the TSA and today we are no longer under the TSA. This has enabled us to do certain things people think is a miracle,” he said.

On security, the minister said, “Security is one of the priorities of this present administration, all of us will attest to the fact that before, everyday there was one kidnapping or the other, banditry and one-chance robberies were high.

“We went around all the area councils to encourage stakeholders to be part of the security architecture, and the feedback we got was that the lack of roads was hindering security operatives from going after the bandits.

“As I speak to you today, all the area councils can attest to the fact that before December this year we are going to commission over 120km of roads in the six area councils.

“We have been able to provide virtually all the logistics required for security agencies. We have provided specialized bikes, vehicles to them. You can now sleep with your two eyes closed. We cannot say that we have gotten it 100% right and no society is free of crime. But there is a difference.

“We are building bus terminals across the city to reduce one-chance and kidnapping, in the next eight months it will be ready. When we came on board, we gave funding to contractors.

On the Abuja light rail, Wike stated that the non-availability of access roads impeded the operations of the metro line.

“To the glory of God, all the access roads have been done and Mr President will ride on the metro line on Monday, May 27

“The last administration allocated $128 million for 29 months for CCECC to train our people for the operation of that metro line, when we came on board, I said no, what are you training for $128m, they said the Federal Executive Council has approved but I said no I will not accept it, as I speak to you we have reduced it to $75m, saving $53m.

“What was commissioned by the last administration was the building, and we are not commissioning the building, what we are commissioning is commercial operations, so if you are going to the airport it will take you just 20 minutes, seeing is believing and we are going to allow free rides for two months.

“They awarded a contract to rehabilitate the national assembly a long time ago, as we came, we finished it. In education, over 19 schools are being rehabilitated,” he added.