…Assures Of Adequate Funding, Completion Of Abuja Metro By May.
1. Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike on Wednesday carried out an inspection tour of the ongoing access roads to the various train stations in the FCT.
2. The sites visited by the FCT Minister include the access roads to the Wupa and Basanjiwa Train stations.
3. Barrister Wike explained that the tour of the projects is part of the routine inspection of ongoing projects in the FCT to ascertain the quality and pace of work.
4. The Minister, who expressed satisfaction with the progress of work at the various sites visited, disclosed that the FCT Administration is also working round the clock to ensure that the Abuja metro line becomes operational by May this year.
5. He said the access roads were also very essential in ensuring that the train stations are accessible to residents of the FCT and the various communities where they are located and added that the projects, when completed, would also help to decongest traffic within the city.
6. According to the Minister, “Most importantly, you remember that we are working day and night to see that the promise we made to Mr. President and the residents of Abuja that by May, Mr. President should be able to ride on the metro line”.
7. “But that is not the only key thing. We must have access roads to the various stations because if you do not create access roads for the communities who would be using this metro line in the various stations, then the aim is defeated. You can imagine if this access road is not there, how will they use this station to even go to the city”.
8. “But what I’m very much happy about is that it does appear that the contractors are really serious. You’ve heard what CCECC has just said that they are going to work day and night to see that this project is completed.
9. “So, the importance is that we want to fulfill the promise we have made to Mr. President and the residents of Abuja that God willing, everything being equal, we will use the metro line. For me, it is a major breakthrough so that this can reduce the influx of vehicles to the city and it’s going to help us a lot”.
10. Explaining the funding mechanism for the projects in view of the many competing interests, the Minister disclosed that funds have been provided under emergency in the FCT’s allocation from the National Supplementary budget, of which 50 percent has been released by the Ministry of Finance.
11. He added that the FCT Administration will also make provision in the 2024 statutory budget to complement the allocation from the national budget.
12. He said, “First of all, when we did the supplementary national budget, we included what we call emergency and so these roads come under the emergency, and like I said before that the Ministry of Finance has released 50 percent of what is provided and we are also going to make sure that we also make provision in our 2024 statutory budget so that if the funding in the national budget is not enough, then we will complement with what is in the statutory budget. So, we are fully prepared for it”.
13. He therefore urged the contractors to expedite action, assuring that outstanding liabilities would be paid.
14. On the settlements along the access road to the Basanjiwa train station, the Minister disclosed that adequate compensation has also been paid to the original inhabitants, following the evaluation of the affected areas, and removal of the structures has also commenced.
15. Noting that the access road to the Basanjiwa train station would also include further work on the Bill Clinton Road to the international Airport, the Minister called for the support of key stakeholders at the airport, including FAAN and NEMA, due to the enormity of work that would be going on at the area.
16. The FCT Minister also inspected the ongoing construction of a single lane expressway from Idu Industrial layout to Zuba, being undertaken by Salini Nigeria Limited.
17. He explained that work on the project was delayed due to a rail crossing and would require the permission of the Ministry of Transport for work to proceed.