Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has opened the first phase of the country’s first metro-rail service in the capital Abuja – some eleven years after the project was initiated.
Abuja Rail Mass Transit, commonly known as Abuja Light Rail, is a commuter rail transport system in the Federal Capital Territory. The first phase of the Abuja light rail system has two lines with connections to the airport and the national rail network.
“The completion of this very important project is a dream come true,” Buhari said during the opening ceremony.
“This accomplishment clearly demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects,” he added.
Buhari and other dignitaries took a ride from the Abuja Metro Station to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. A second line runs between the central business district to northern neighbourhoods.
The entire metro system, comprising 290 kilometres, is being built by China Civil Engineering and Construction Corp at a cost of $824 million, partly funded by loans from the Export-Import Bank of China, which is providing 60 percent, according to the FCT administration. It will span the entire city and will be developed in six phases.
The project, which is the first light rail system in West Africa, was flagged-off by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007.