President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday urged the incoming Buhari administration to continue to boost the railway system as the cheapest and most effective mode of mass transit in the country.
The president said this when he inspected the ongoing construction of the National Railway Terminal at Idu and the Abuja light rail transit system.
Jonathan said he was happy with the progress of work done on the projects and called on the state governors to also build light rails in their state capitals.
“We cannot do mass transit using taxis, small cars and small buses even the luxury buses.
“it will be too expensive until our rail system works.
“That is why we are emphasizing on inter-city rail and intra-city light rail systems and of course this government is leaving on May 29 but the incoming government will definitely continue.
“This is a noble project, it will benefit Nigerians, especially residents of the FCT.
“I am quite appreciative of the level of completion; the CCECC (China Engineering and Construction Company) has been doing very well.
“I am quite impressed; I have been wanting to come and inspect this project for a very long time but it has been so challenging in terms of my commitments.
“I think this period I really need to do so that when I am having conversation with the incoming President; I know exactly what to tell him.
“I have seen it myself. I have seen the level of completion and of course we know the usefulness of this project to us in terms of easing the movement of people in the federal capital territory.
“I have to congratulate Nigerians for this project’’
Jonathan said the projects were dear to the Federal Government, adding that it was the target of his administration to link up all states of the federation.
He, however, said that the state governments were being encouraged to construct intra-rail systems in the major capitals to ease transportation.
Earlier, the Secretary of Transport in FCT, Mr Jonathan Ivoke, said that the National Rail Line and the Abuja light rail were almost completed and both lines were interlinked.
He said the system was conceived in 2007 while work started in 2009 due to financial difficulties and the securing of the consultancy.
He said that the project was remodeled and segmented to achieve completion.
Ivoke said the lot 1 of the project was valued at N823 million which had attained 61 per cent completion of the double standard gauge.
He said that 29km out of the 49.24km length had been completed, adding that the stockpile of the needed materials for the entire job was on ground.
According to him, the job is being hampered by the realignment of the Airport axis and the relocation of illegal structures at the Central Area axis for the metro station.
NAN reports that President Jonathan and the entourage had a test ride on the rail track from Jabi to Idu using three construction coaches.