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Wike Gives Eight-Month Ultimatum For Abuja Light Rail Completion

I Didn’t Buy N300m Bulletproof Car As FCT Minister

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, frowned at the dysfunctional state of the Abuja light rail and directed the permanent secretary to complete payment to the Chinese concession company in order to conclude rehabilitation of the rails within eight months.

Wike gave the ultimatum during an inspection of the Abuja Metro Station in Idu and at the Airport Station on his first assignment outside the office, less than 48 hours after the swearing-in of the 45 new ministers.

He further asserted that the task of restoring the Abuja metro had become crucially fundamental as part of President Bola Tinubu’s promise to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians within the shortest possible time.

At the main terminal of the metro station, Wike, flanked by the Minister of State for FCT, Mairiga Mahmud, and other officials, addressed the contractors, questioning the quality of work.

Proceeding on the tour, the FCT minister took the train ride from the metro station, through the Idu Station and then to the Airport Station.

The rails, originally developed in six phases, were funded with loans from the China EXIM Bank. After the vandalisation of the vital rail infrastructure, the FCT Administration awarded a fresh N5 billion contract in August 2023 for its rehabilitation within 12 months.

The Abuja light rail commissioned at the metro station opened for business in 2018 and operated for about two years before the train service folded up, owing largely to vandalism.

Wike, who is the first southerner to become minister of the FCT, hopes to present a rehabilitated rail system to the President for commissioning by April 2024.

I Didn’t Buy N300m Bulletproof Car As FCT Minister 

Wike, who spoke after his tour of the Abuja Light Rail, denied social media reports and challenged reporters to touch his car to confirm whether it was a bulletproof car or not.

The ex-governor of Rivers State said he has not had a meeting with officials of the FCT Administration let alone approve a car for himself.

He said, “We are now going to the office to have a direct report from each of the departments, but I have seen what is going on in the social media; how you (FCTA Permanent Secretary) bought a bulletproof car of N300m that I am using.

“So, I want you people to go 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 any car to be bought and I have not used an official bulletproof car.

“Whether I have cars as governor? Yes, as a governor, what do you expect I should have what? But, I am not using bulletproof car as FCT minister, so we should report the right thing, and not destroy ourselves.

“I want you to take a look at where you have the flag, and see whether it is a bulletproof car.”

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