Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, has said the FCT Administration will work round the clock to deliver the Abuja Rail Mass Transit (ARMT) System project on May 29.
Wike stated this after an inspection tour of the project in Abuja on Thursday, to ensure timely delivery of the project.
He said: “I am not a pessimist, and I believe that if we put all our energy into it, we may achieve it. I have also disbursed the funds for access roads, so we have no excuse.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FCTA had in August 2023, announced the award of N5 billion contract for the rehabilitation of ARMT system.
The contract was awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC), to be delivered within eight months.
On assumption into office, Wike identified the ARMT as one of the projects that would be commissioned on May 29 to mark President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office.
The minister expressed dissatisfaction with the delivery of the project, following the persistent vandalisation and stealing of critical facilities and equipment of the rail system.
“This is one project that I am so compassionate about, and you know that Mr President has given me a directive that must not be taken for granted.
“When we first visited the metro station, I discovered that there were many security lapses.
“I remember when I first came after our inauguration, I did say that we will have to work on the issue of security by putting a fence around the Metro Station to fend off criminals.
“Unfortunately, that has not been done and to my surprise, I discovered that the contract was not even awarded to CCECC. It is a different contractor awarded by the FCT.
“This is my first time hearing this, and we are going to take it up immediately to see that the fence is put in place, because you can’t talk of operation, when you have not tackled the issue of security,” he said.
He expressed concern that in spite of engaging security companies to secure the rail facilities, vandalism and stealing had continued unabated.
He said that a measure would be put in place to curtail the problem, insisting that there would be no room for excuses.
“I will not be happy if in May this year, we are not able to operate this metro line. It will be very disastrous for me.
“Even the designs of the rail stations are very poor. whoever approved the design is unfair to Nigerians. I have told CCECC that the designs are not even acceptable in their countries,” Wike said.
In spite of these daunting challenges, Wike expressed optimism that the May 29 target may be achieved.
“Be it as it has been, we still have to work round the clock to see that we achieved our result.
“I have also directed that all the stations must be cleaned, and all the necessary facilities must be provided. There is no room for excuses at all,” Wike said.
The minister also complained on the quality of the access roads linking the rail stations, saying, “the construction is not the best but again what do you do, this is what is on ground.
“Frankly speaking, knowing where I am coming from, and having presided over projects like this, I cannot tell you that I am happy.
“I am not happy, the company must speed up, those who are doing the access roads must also speed up,” he directed. (NAN)