Tinubu approves six-month free ride on Abuja train

President Bola Tinubu has approved the extension of free train rides on the Abuja Rail Mass Transit, also called the Metro Rail, for the next six months until the end of the year.

The President approved the free ride during his address at the inauguration of the commencement of operations of the Abuja metro rail in Abuja on Wednesday.

The PUNCH reports that the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, had earlier announced free train rides for two months, to ease the burden of commuting for residents of the FCT.

However, the President appealed for the extension to offer hope to the people of the FCT and give them reasons to celebrate.

“Our dear landlord 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,” Tinubu said.

The President expressed gratitude to re-launch the operation of the Metro rail, describing the commencement and accomplishment of the project by the FCT Administration as “a dream come true”, and “a demonstration of serious commitment to value”, noting that it also marked a milestone of the administration’s march to progress.

“Today marks the milestone of our march towards enduring progress as a country, especially in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. As we gather here to commemorate the first anniversary of my administration, we are also celebrating the fruit of collaboration, dedication, progress, and foresight. It is with immense pride and gratitude, that I stand before you to flag off the relaunch of commercial operations of the Abuja Mass Transit Rail programme, known commonly as Abuja Metro”, he said.

Tinubu also said the Metro Rail was a symbol of progress, connectivity and inclusivity, adding that it also signified his administration’s commitment to modernise the transportation infrastructure in the country,

He said, “Abuja Light Rail Metro stands as a symbol of progress, connectivity, inclusivity. It signifies our determination to modernise our transportation infrastructure, reduce traffic congestion in the city, and enhance accessibility to all residents, be it visitors within and outside Abuja. Today, what we have in the Federal Capital Territory is evidence that we are a government that delivers on promises.”

The FCT minister, Nyesom Wike, in his address, noted that the rehabilitation contract was earlier awarded in 2018 for $30m, which was eventually paid to the construction company, after please to the Governor of the Central Bank, the Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation who approved payments of the sum.

He further added that the access roads to the stations were constructed at the cost of N21.4bn and fitted with car parks for residents to safely park their cars at the various stations, noting that the commissioning followed the directive of the President, who had previously asked to take a ride on the metro rail.

“The contract for the rehabilitation of this rail line was given in 2018. And it was awarded at the cost of $30m, and that was not paid. We had to plead with the Central Bank, the Minister of Finance, and the Accountant General. And I can tell you that the Governor of the CBN and his team did everything and paid that money to CCECC. Without their support, it would not have been possible. The cost of those roads, 7 slots cost us N21.4bn. As I speak to you today, all those roads are completed, and car parks for people to use at the various stations”, he said.

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