THE Abuja Metro Rail inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari is the first of its kind in Africa, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has said.
Mohammed, who spoke yesterday after a tour of the rail line, said the project was the first integrated rail system in Africa.
According to him, it is aimed at achieving seamless transfer of passengers from air to train, air to land and then connect to regional rail (Abuja-Kaduna national rail) with metro system.
The minister noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has delivered in the three key priority areas – security, economy and fight against corruption.
The achievements of the administration, he said, has left the opposition parties in the lurch since they have nothing to hold against the government.
He said the opposition parties have resorted in fanning the ember of disunity.
The tour, which was the continuation of the nationwide inspection of Federal Government’s projects across the country, is aimed at showcasing the infrastructural development feat of the Buhari administration in the last three years.
He said: “The truth is that in the three key priority areas of this administration, that is security, economy and the fight against corruption, we are delivering.
“This has left the opposition in the lurch, hence their resort to fake news and hate speeches. They fan the embers of disunity and violence. They believe they could use this as a weapon against the administration. But Nigerians are too smart to be conned.”
He noted that the administration is not looking for quick fix like the past administration, which has not worked.
“This administration is not looking for quick fixes. Because quick fixes don’t work. We are laying the foundation for an enduring infrastructural development.
“We are painstaking, we are very transparent, but we remain focused and committed. Despite what people say every day, we remain focused and committed. Despite what people say every day, we remain focus on delivery to the people.”
On the light rail project, he said, it is the first of its kind in the continent, which, according to him, it’s a thing of pride.
“There is nowhere in Africa that you have what we have here today. The kind of integrated rail system that we have here today. This is the first and I am very proud.”
The light rail project, he added, “is actually designed to alleviate the challenges of transportation for the metropolis”.
Mohammed said: “It is a project that no one single administration can start and finish. Every administration must take off from where the other administrations stopped.
“My pride is that when we came in, this project was only 53 per cent completed and we took 18 months only to get to where we are now. So, in eight years’, 12 years’, 20 years’ time, if we continue to sustain this, every part of the metropolis will be covered by rail and 20 years is such a short time in the life of a country or a city.”
The minister was convinced that the coming generations would appreciate the project.
The rail’s Chief Resident Engineer, Mr. Anthony Agbakoba, while briefing the minister, announced the signing of agreement for the beginning of the project’s second phase by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Ltd.
He noted that when the project is fully operated, it would directly or indirectly employ about 10,000 Nigerians.
Agbakoba said that in addition, 68 highly-skilled personnel have been trained in Malaysia and China on Railway Operations and Management to build the required technical capacity needed to run such a modern rail system.
Conducting the minister and his team round the train stations, the Secretary of Transportation in the FCTA, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, said the project is the first integrated mode of transportation in Africa that connects the railways and the airport to ensure seamless movement of passengers.