Abuja, – Mr Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Wednesday, inspected the Abuja Rail Mass Transit (ARMT) System rehabilitation project as first official assignment.
Wike told journalists during a visit to the ARMT Metro Station, in Abuja, that the measure was part of his resolve to address challenges affecting public transportation in the FCT.
According to him, transportation is one of the sectors he intends to transform in the short time to improve public transportation in the capital city.
“Transportation is one of the sectors we intend to intervene in the short term to reduce traffic congestion within the city.
“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? He asked.
He noted that while there were other lots of the project that were not completed, people would have confidence on the one that was completed and working.
He stressed that it was not a good idea to begin another rail project while the one that was finished remain unusable.
He said that every project that commenced must be finished before embarking on another one, considering the availability of resources.
“I assured the public that the rail transport system is a project we will take to a logical conclusion.
“Before commencing another project, we will need to determine which areas are the most traffic areas. This is very important to decongest areas with traffic congestion,” he said.
He told the management of CCECC Nig. Ltd, the construction company handling the rail construction and rehabilitation projects to deliver quality projects.
After a train ride from the Metro Station to Airport and Idu Stations to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation project of the rail system, the minister described it as a “good project.”
He added that if completed, it would significantly reduce traffic congestion in the city.
“This is one of the projects we will complete and put to use.
“The money for the rehabilitation is on ground and I have already directed the Permanent Secretary, FCT Administration, Mr Adesola Olusade to make sure that the contractor is paid.
“We will work to ensure that in the next coming months, this project is commissioned and put to public use,” Wike said.
Earlier, the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, said that assessing the problems affecting the rail transport and finding ways to address them would help in putting the system to public use.
According to her, the transport system is one of the palliative measures that President Bola Tinubu wants to provide to the public.
“We are in the ARMT Metro Station to look at what is on ground, what the challenges are and what is expected of the ministry to move transportation system to the next level.”
The permanent secretary had earlier noted that Wike was known to many as a ‘Mr project’, adding that it was not surprising that his first assignment outside the office was a visit to a project site.
Olusade explained that the ARMT system was challenged by massive vandalisation of rail infrastructure during COVID-19 lockdown, adding that private security companies have been engaged to salvage the situation.
He added that a major hurdle in the operation process has been addressed, adding that the Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company has been assigned to manage the operation.
“We are already developing a framework for the assignment, and we look forward to this project contributing significantly to the reduction of the pains of the removal of fuel subsidy,” he said.
Also, the Director of Transportation, FCTA, Mr Joseph Akinteye, explained that the ARMT system rehabilitation project consists of Lots 1 A and 3 spans 45.245 kilometres (km).
Akinteye explained that the ARMT system phase 1, which comprises Lots 1 and 3, made up of 77.775 km, out of six Lots designated by the Transportation Master plan was awarded in 2007.
Akinteye, however, said that only Lots 1 A and 3, made up of 45.245 km, were completed in 2017 and commissioned in 2018. (NAN)