. Assures Abuja Light Rail will be fixed in short time
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, has pointedly denied using an armoured vehicle estimated at N300 million as his official car.
He made the rebuttal Wednesday after touring the Abuja Metro Station, Idu Station and Airport Station on the Abuja Light Rail project with journalists during his first official assignment.
The denial followed a report that a Lexus LX 600 SUV with the number plate FCT 01 was acquired several weeks ago by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, for Wike, who was sworn in as minister on Monday.
“I have seen what is going on in the social media how you (FCTA Permanent Secretary) bought a bulletproof car of N300 million that I’m using.
“I want you people (journalists) to go and hit your hand there (on the car) and see whether it is a treated car. With all due respect, people should be careful not to destroy other people.
“When I came, the permanent secretary said they have a car for us and the car we use is this. I have never approved for any car to be bought and I have not used official bulletproof car.
“Whether I have bullet proof cars as governor? Yes, as a governor, what did you expect? I should have what? But as I am not using bulletproof car as FCT Minister, so we should report the right thing and not to destroy ourselves. I want you to take a look at where you have the flag, and see whether it is a bullet-proof car,” Wike said.
Wike, who was accompanied to the metro station by the FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, and Adesola identified transportation as one of the sectors he intends to transform in the short time to reduce traffic congestion within the city.
He also insisted that it was not a good idea to begin another rail project while works on Lot 1 and Lot 3 that span 45.245 kilometres and which was inaugurated in 2018 was ongoing.
He lamented the Metro Station – Airport route was not very viable, stressing that in the nearest future, the FCTA would commence work on commercially viable routes linking settlements like Nyanya and Kubwa with the city centre.
“I assure the public that the rail transport system is a project we will take to logical conclusion and put into use.
“Before commencing another project, we will need to determine which areas are the most traffic areas. This is very important to decongest areas with traffic congestion,” he said.
He urged the management of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nig. Ltd that handles the rail construction and rehabilitation projects to deliver quality project and questioned why the perimeter fence of the Metro Station was not completed.
“The money for the rehabilitation is on ground and I have already directed the permanent secretary to make sure that the contractor is paid,” Wike said.
The minister assured the people that the Abuja Light Rail project will be inaugurated in the next coming months and put to public use.
Earlier, the permanent secretary noted that the Abuja Light Rail infrastructure was massively vandalised during COVID-19 lockdown, adding that private security companies had been engaged to salvage the situation.