Awarded in 2007, the Abuja Light Rail has been in the pipeline for almost 20 years after. Though first commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari on July 12, 2018, with only three functional stations, the project was abandoned shortly thereafter. Before its abandonment, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the trial operation, coupled with massive vandalism of key components.

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Hence, the contract which was awarded at the cost of $824 million, with 60 per cent to be funded with loans from the Exim Bank of China, was just unproductive, wasting away.

But this comatose state of the project was not to continue with the advent of the new federal government, as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, took the bull by the horns, and reinvigorated the project.

Convinced that the project will bring relief to commuters, encourage greater use of the metro rail system, enhance inter-modal connectivity and reduce transportation cost, the Minister, immediately put measures in place to bring back the project to life.

So, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, the Minister made good his promise to deliver the first phase of the project, even as President Bola Tinubu was proud to take a ride accompanied by Vice President Kashim Shetimma, and other top government functionaries.

While commending government for offering free train rides till the end of the year, we advise that the barricades on the rail corridor should be properly condoned off as some parts have been vandalised. This will help to keep the livestock at bay and check unauthorized access to the rail tracks.

We urge government to sustain this efforts and not allow the project not to go back into comatose, as it will make meaningful impact on residents and visitors to the FCT.