Abuja — President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday performed the groundbreaking ceremony of foundation laying of the Light Railway. The value of the project is in the excess of $841 million with a completion date of four years, which is a complementary factor in our bid for the Commonwealth Games of 2014."
The President who was on official tour of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja had earlier in the day commissioned the permanent office of the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and the Area 11 Neighbourhood Centre, Garki, inspected the Urban Shelter Ultra-modern Market and thereafter cut tapes at : the Rural Telephony projects situated within the premises of the National Assembly; the Mabushi Interchange; Jabi Lake Resort; Wupa Waste Treatment Plant and performed the ground breaking foundation ceremony of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project as well as commissioned Accra Street Park in Wuse Zone 5.
At the ceremony, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said, "the importance of this ceremony is better captured when we realize that the chaotic transportation system in Lagos was one of the reasons for the relocation of the seat of government from Lagos to Abuja by the visionary leadership of the Murtala/Obasanjo regime of 1976."
He stressed that, "in accordance with the Abuja Master Plan and globally accepted norms, cities with a population of over 1.5 million people should have a integrated public transportation system of which the railway is a major component."
El-Rufai explained that the FCTA was taking 60 kilometer of the project comprising lot one, routed through Area 10 in Garki, Central Area, Wuse Neighbourhood Centre, Utako Motor Park, Jabi Life Camp, Karmo, Gwagwa and Kubwa with a short link to Idu junction.
Also captured in the first phase is lot 3, comprising transportation center in the central area, National Stadium, Kukwaba National Park, Idu and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
He believed that when fully operational, the system, which is powered by diesel and has the capacity to transport about 20,000 passengers per hour/per direction, would "boost the economic life of the residents of the FCT.