President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday inaugurate the first phase of the Abuja Light Rail Project on Thursday.
He is expected to inaugurate the railway services signalling the commencement of operations of the long-awaited rail services in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The 45.245km standard gauge railway line, which runs between the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the Abuja Metro Station, is said to be the first of its kind in West Africa.
The phase, which comprised Lots 1A and 3, is an integral part of the six Lots which formed the scope of the FCT railway system, the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, Cosmas Uzodinma, said in a statement in Abuja, on Monday.
It said the event would take place at the Abuja Metro Station in the Central Business District – the flagship of the 12 completed railway stations under the package.
The project, which was initiated about 11 years ago, was at 63 per cent completion when it was concluded by the Buhari administration within two years.
The inauguration would mark the formal commencement of rail service and the fulfilment of a long-awaited dream for a modern state-of-the-art mass transit system for the FCT.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has solicited the partnership of the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure a hitch-free operation of the Abuja rail mass transit system.
In a meeting with officials of the NRC, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, stated that the administration would require the support, supervision and guidance of the regulators for a smooth take-off.
Bello, who disclosed that some skeletal staff members had already been employed to start some of the operations, added that the expertise and experience of the NRC would also be indispensable.
“Based on your observations and your guidance, we will really appreciate the support from you so that we start a skeletal thing as we don’t want a situation whereby Mr President inaugurates the project and we just close up shop.
“We intend to run it from the airport to the Central Business District gradually for the people to know about it and for us to go through the learning curve,” he told the NRC officials during the meeting.
Responding, the General Manager of NRC, Fidet Ohiria, pledged the support of the corporation towards the successful running of the Abuja Light Rail Project.