Federal Capital Territory FCT Minister, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has frowned at the slow pace of work on the Abuja Light Rail, especially with regards to the perimeter fencing of the Metro Station in the Central Business District, saying the facility cannot be opened for operations without providing maximum security.
Speaking when he inspected the project on Thursday, Wike recalled his earlier visit to the facility and the deadline he gave for the completion of work on the fencing.
He said, “This is one project that I am so passionate about, and you know that Mr. President gave me a directive that must not be taken for granted. Therefore, we have to come and make sure that things are in good shape.
“When we first visited the metro station, I discovered that there were many security lapses, and I remember when I first came after our inauguration, I did say that we have to work on the issue of security by putting up the fence around the metro station to ward off criminals, but unfortunately, that has not been done.
“To my surprise, it was discovered that the contract was not even awarded to CCECC; it is a different contract awarded by the FCT, and this is my first time hearing that we are going to take it up immediately to see that it is put in place because you cannot talk of operations when you have not taken care of the issue of security. So, security is key for us.
“We have to also talk about the kind of vandalism and stealing that is going on there. We have security companies that were awarded contracts to secure those areas, yet things are happening. Excuses are being given on how security agencies release those that are caught, but for me, that is not enough, and we are going to make sure that we have a different method to be adopted so that we cannot continue to give excuses every day.
“I cannot be happy if, in May this year, we are not able to operate this metro line. It will be very disastrous for me, and then, even for all these stations, from what I have seen, the designs are very poor. Whoever might have approved the design is unfair to Nigerians. I have told CCECC that these designs are not even acceptable in their countries.
“I have also directed that all the stations must be cleaned, and all the necessary things there must be provided. There is no room for excuses at all.
“Also, on the design of the access roads linking to the various stations, I don’t know whether it is because people always talk about money and rush into everything without proper evaluation and the benefits it will offer the residents or the users.
“The construction is not the best, but again, what do you do? This is what is on the ground. But frankly speaking, knowing where I am coming from and having presided over projects like this, I cannot tell you that I am happy. I am not.
“I have always said to people that we owe a lot to this country. If you have been allowed to do something, it is not like you are the best, the most handsome, or the most beautiful; it is just that God, in his infinite mercy, has said that this is your turn, so try to make good use of it by satisfying members of the public.
“So I am not happy; the company must speed up, and those who are doing the access roads must also speed up,” he declared.