Is Tinubu Gov’t First To Launch Abuja Light Rail Operation? – Fact Check

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By Philip Shimnom Clement

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike on Thursday in Abuja claimed that past government inaugurated the buildings at the Abuja Light Rail centre, insinuating that there was no previous launching of the infrastructure for commercial operation.

Wike made the disclosure at a ministerial press briefing to commemorate activities marking President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first year in office.

Verdict: Misleading

What Wike said

During the ministerial sectoral updates in Abuja on Thursday, Wike announced that President Tinubu would inaugurate commercial operation of the Abuja metro line, stating that the present administration would be launching the actual metro operations, and not buildings.

The President is set to ride the metro line on Monday, May 27, and from Tuesday, free rides will be available to the public for two months.

Wike said the move aims to alleviate transportation costs for residents and aligns with the Tinubu government’s “Renewed Hope Agenda”.

He stated, “We are not talking of commissioning buildings, but the commercial operation. There were no access roads to the stations, which impeded the operation of the metro line.

“The President will ride on the metro line on Monday, 27th May; it will be your turn, Nigerians, as from Tuesday.

“And there will be free rides for two months, to reduce the pain on our people, that is what is called the Renewed Hope Agenda.”


Checks by Daily Trust revealed that former President Muhammadu Buhari on July 12 2018 inaugurated the Abuja light rail project describing it as “A dream come true”

He took a ride from the Abuja metro station to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, signalling the commencement of operations of the long-awaited rail services in the federal capital territory (FCT), Abuja.

He charged the FCT administration, especially, the management of the rail services, to ensure efficient operations, good customer service and maintenance culture.

The ceremony took place at the new metro station in central business district (CBD), Abuja.

“The Abuja Light Rail System is further evidence that we are a government that delivers on its promises. A modern rail service will greatly boost the FCT economy and enhance social life,” Buhari had said.

Subsequently Daily Trust had also published a photo of former President Buhari taking a ride on the train with former FCT minister Mohammed Bello and former minister of information Lai Mohamed as well as other government dignitaries.

About the project

Further checks by Daily Trust show that the 45.245km standard guage rail line from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to the Abuja Metro Station is the first of its kind in West Africa and took over 11 years to complete.

The project financed through counterpart-funding with the China Export Import (Exim) Bank on the basis of 60 per cent from the Chinese and 40 percent from the FCT administration.

It will link 13 communities with 12 stations at the Abuja Metro, Stadium, Kukwaba 1 and 2, Wupa, Idu, Bassanjiwa, Airport, Gwagwa Dei-Dei, Kagini and Gbazango.

The then minister of FCT, Muhammad Bello, noted that Buhari only inaugurated phase 1 of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project (ARMTP), adding that the FCTA was already working on phase II of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project to cover a distance of 32.54km from Nnamdi Azikwe Expressway at Garki Area I via the Transportation Centre to Gwagwa and from Bazango Station to Kubwa.

Bello added that the federal executive council approved the project in 2017 for construction by CCECC at a cost of US$1.3 billion, expressing hope that the Ministry of Finance would consider putting the project in the next borrowing plans.


Former President Buhari indeed launched commercial operations of the Abuja light project in 2018, invalidating Wike’s insinuation that there was no previous inauguration of commercial operation of the metro line.

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