May 30, 2024

Tinubu declares 7 months free train ride as Abuja light rail service takes off



•As guests welcome old anthem with fanfare

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu yesterday declared seven months free train ride for passengers as he performed the presidential flag-off of commercial operation of Phase 1 of  Abuja light rail service, also known as Abuja metro rail, till December.

The flag-off was among the activities mapped out by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, to mark the one year anniversary of President Tinubu in office.

Recall that on Tuesday the President commissioned the Southern Parkway, which was among the legacy projects completed within the one year of his administration.

The Abuja Metro Station was commissioned in 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, had earlier announced free train rides for two months, to ease the burden of commuting for residents of the FCT.

But while flagging-off the mass transit rail programme, the President appealed for the extension to offer hope to the people of the FCT to enable residents celebrate the new administration.

He said:  “Our dear landlord (referring to Wike) and his team, I heard you saying two months free ride. I appeal to you to make it till the end of the year. Since today, you’re not going to charge me, that will give the people hope and reasons to celebrate.”

He said in his desire to have a functional federal capital with efficient infrastructure, he made a request and challenged the FCT minister that he didn’t need a land but would like to ride on train.

The President said Wike demonstrated unusual capacity in truly serving the nation.

Recall that the contract for the project was awarded by the Federal Capital Territory Administration in 2007 and had a trial operation from September 2018 to March 2020 after completion.

It, however, suffered hiccups as the COVID 19 pandemic affected the continuous trial operation, coupled with massive vandalism of key components which resulted in the ARMT system not operational since 2020.