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Wike laments failure of $824 million Abuja metro rail



Denies using N300m official vehicle

Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has expressed disappointment over the failure of Abuja Rail Mass Transit project.The metro rail, which was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 12, 2018, and opened for passengers the following week, has since been abandoned, paving the way for vandals to feast on the tracks.

The project was originally meant to solve the perennial transportation problem in Abuja, as well as adjoining towns and cities. It was to cost $824 million and to be funded 60 per cent with loans from Exim Bank of China. It was proposed to cover 290km, to be developed in six phases or lots.

When the metro rail was opened for business in 2018, only the section from the Abuja Metro Station in the Central Business District (CBD) to the airport was put to use, with an intermediate station at Idu.

The train service soon folded up, without adding value to the citizens, who are in serious need of efficient transportation system. Wike told journalists during a visit to the Metro Station, in Abuja, that the measure was part of his resolve to address challenges affecting public transportation in the FCT.

Transportation, he asserted, is one of the sectors he intends to transform in the short time to improve public transportation in the capital city. He said: “I know that we have a metro station in Abuja, and it is not working. Why is it not working? Can we fix it within a short time?”

MEANWHILE, Wike has dismissed, as tissues of lies, a social media report that he acquired a N300 million armoured Lexus LX 600, just a day after he was sworn as minister.

Speaking after a tour of the Abuja Light Rail, Wike challenged journalists to inspect his vehicle and see whether it was the bullet-proof variant.

He said: “We are going to the office to have a direct report from each of the departments, but I have seen what is going on in the social media; how it happened that you (pointing to the FCTA Permanent Secretary) bought a bullet-proof car of N300 million that I am using. So I want you (newsmen) to go hit your hands on the car and see whether it is a treated car. With all due respect, people should be careful not to destroy other people.

“When I came, the Permanent Secretary said they had a car for us, and the car we use is this. I have never approved for any car to be bought and I have not used official bullet-proof car. Whether I have cars as governor, yes! As a governor, what do you expect I should have? But, I am not using bullet-proof car as FCT Minister. So, we should report the right thing, and not to destroy ourselves.”