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Abuja Light-Rail Signals a New Dawn for Citizens

By Ese Ufuoma

The Federal Government has officially launched the Abuja Railway Transit, a major transportation infrastructure project to enhance connectivity and facilitate economic growth in the capital city. The flag-off was among the activities mapped out by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, to mark the first anniversary of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu in office. President Tinubu announced that commuters would enjoy free train rides on the Abuja Metro Line until the end of the year.  The President made this declaration while flagging off the re-launch of commercial operations on the Abuja Light Rail.

“Our dear Landlord, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), I have heard you say there will be free train rides for two months. I want to appeal   to you to make it until the end of the year. Let us give the people reasons to celebrate,’’ the President said before taking a 40-minute ride from the metro station to the airport station. He then described the operations on the Abuja Metro Line as a symbolic milestone of enduring progress as a country and in the FCT.

The railway transit system connects the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to key destinations in Bassanjiwa, Idu, Wupa, Kukwaba, and other areas, providing an efficient and reliable transportation solution for commuters. This milestone development is a testament to Nigeria’s commitment to modernizing its infrastructure and promoting sustainable development. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the city’s traffic congestion, air quality, and economic productivity.

The railway’s impact on the city is manifold: it alleviates traffic congestion, reducing the stress and time associated with commuting by road. The environmental benefits are also noteworthy; fewer cars on the road means reduced emissions, contributing to a greener and more sustainable atmosphere.

Celebrating the Visionaries

Behind the scenes of this grand project are individuals whose tireless efforts have made the Abuja Railway Transit a reality. One such individual is Engineer Joseph Akinteye, the Director of Transportation for the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). His dedication and leadership have been instrumental in navigating the myriad challenges of bringing such a significant infrastructure project to fruition.

Voices of the People

While the officials and engineers are justifiably proud of their achievements, the true measure of success lies in the voices of the people who use the train daily. From children marvelling at their first train ride to parents enjoying a safer and faster commute, the consensus is clear: the train is not only functional but a lifeline for the community.

An encounter with Engineer Joseph Akinteye

To gain deeper insights into the project, Valuechain sat with Engr. Joseph Akinteye for an exclusive interview.

Tell us about the initial vision behind the Abuja Railway Transit

The initial vision was to create a modern, efficient transportation system that would not only ease the burden of daily shuttles but also promote economic growth and environmental sustainability. We wanted to ensure that Abuja, as the capital city, had infrastructure befitting its status.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the development of the railway?”

One of the significant challenges was aligning the project with international standards while ensuring it met local needs. We also had to navigate logistical issues, especially during the construction phase. However, the support from the government and the dedication of our team helped us overcome these obstacles.

The free rides for six months have been widely appreciated. What was the motivation behind this initiative?

The idea was to introduce the railway system to as many people as possible and make it accessible to everyone, regardless of their economic status. It’s a way to give back to the community and encourage public transport usage, which has long-term benefits for the city.

How do you envision the future of Railway transportation in Abuja?

I see a future where the Abuja Railway Transit serves as a model for other cities in Nigeria. With continuous expansion and integration with other forms of public transport, we can create a seamless and efficient transportation network that supports the city’s growth and development.

As the train continues its journey through the heart of Abuja, it carries with it more than just passengers. It carries the hopes and dreams of a nation on the brink of a new era, where progress is not just a distant promise but a tangible reality. For President Tinubu, Engineer Akinteye, and many others, this journey is just beginning. The Abuja Railway Transit is more than a means of transport; it is a symbol of Nigeria’s potential and a testament to what can be achieved with vision, dedication, and collective effort.

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