By: Wisdom Acka
FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, has expressed displeasure over the magnitude of vandalization of facilities at the Abuja Light Rail Transit system.
The Minister, who disclosed this while speaking at the rail’s metro station during inspection of the project on Wednesday, pledged to complete rehabilitation of the vandalized portions of the rail to commence service.
Recall that the FCT Administration, few weeks ago, awarded a N5 billion contract for rehabilitation of the work expected to span twelve months.
Wike, however, pointed that the one-year completion period for the repairs was too long, and should be reduced to eight months, even as he directed immediate payment to the contractor to hasten work on site.
His words:”This is a good project. This is one of the projects that we will hurriedly complete and put to use. The fund is available. I have directed the Permanent Secretary to pay the contractors.”
“People can only have confidence in the rail, if the existing one is working. We will make this route work before we talk of another route,” he added.
Reacting to the Permanent Secretary’s earlier statement on vandalism, the Minister wondered why the facility would not be vandalised when it does not have perimeter fencing and not being used.
After touring the metro, Idu and Airport stations, Wike also wondered why the Lot with most traffic was not considered for the rail construction; emphasizing that the ever busy Nyanya axis would have been considered first as that the Airport route was not quite busy.
While calling on the company to expedite action on the project, he charged them to put in the best of their ability.
Berating a section of the media for misinformation, Wike explained that, contrary to wrong media reports, he was not using a N300 million office vehicle.
Wike was responding to claims that he was driving a Lexus LX 600 SUV worth a whooping N300 million.
The Abuja Light rail was initiated by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and was commissioned by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It was, however, abandoned during COVID-19 due to the lockdown, giving way to vandalisation of critical facilities, including communication cables, air-conditioning system, and generating sets among others.