The commissioning ceremony of the Abuja light rail is held in Abuja Metro Station. (Photo: Li Liang)
Abuja (People's Daily) –The first light rail in West Africa, the Abuja light rail, began phase 1 with the commissioning ceremony by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 12, 2018. The ministers of the Ministry of Transportation, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), China’s ambassador to Nigeria Zhou Pingjian and others attended the commissioning ceremony held in the Abuja Metro Station.
The Abuja light rail mass transit project was signed in 2007 and started construction in 2012. The light rail is a two track railway and adopts Chinese railway standards. The maximum operating speed is 100km/h.
The first phase of the project consists of two lines with a total length of 45.245 kilometers. It connects the Abuja International Airport, the city’s central business district, the Abuja Idu industry zone and the northwest satellite city Kuwa. It also joins with Abuja-Kaduna railway at the Idu station.
President Buhari showed gratitude in his speech to the government and people of China for their help in the Nigerian economic development. “Let me say on the record the Nigerian government’s appreciation to the government of China and the EXIM Bank of China for their support on this and many other projects currently being executed in the country.”
Buhari commended the project construction company, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd, ”for the quality of work and timely delivery of this project”. He added, “This gesture further cements the already existing cordial relations and developmental partnership between Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China.”
According to FCT Minister Malam Muhammad M. Bello the project cost about US$823 million. The China Exim Bank funded about 60 percent and the Federal Capital Territory Administration of Nigeria funded about 40 percent.
Minister Bell explains the Abuja light rail mass transit project to President Buhari. (Photo: Li Liang)
The Abuja international airport light rail station. (Photo: Li Liang)
The Abuja light rail operating control center in Idu. (Photo: Li Liang)