It was gathered that the President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday asked the incoming government of the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), not to jettison the ongoing Abuja rail projects.
Jonathan gave the advice while inspecting the project in Abuja. The President who rode on the train during the inspection expressed delight at the ongoing work.
He said since the project was a noble one that will benefit residents of the Federal Capital Territory and all Nigerians, the incoming administration must continue with it. He said, “I emphasise the need to develop an effective mass transit system in the country. We cannot talk about mass transit using taxis, small cars and small buses, even the luxury buses. It will be too expensive. “Untill our rail system works. That is why we are emphasising on inter-city rail and intra-city light rail systems.
“Of course, this government is leaving on May 29, but definitely the incoming government will have to continue. “This is a noble project, it will benefit Nigerians especially residents of the FCT. I am quite appreciative of the level of completion.”
Jonathan said he had made several attempts in the past to come and inspect the project but could not do so because of many other commitments. He said he saw it as important to do so at this time so that when he is having conversation with the President-elect, he would know exactly what to tell him. The President added that the project was designed to ease the movement of people in the FCT.
The Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Muhammed, recalled that there was no financial plan for the project in the beginning. He said the President was able to secure a loan of $500m which the ministry had started accessing. He added that $20bn was also taken from SURE-P to be used as counterpart funding. The minister said about 61 percent of the sum had already been drawn.