By Ismaila Chafe,Abuja.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N718 million for security services and surveillance for the Abuja light rail transportation system.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, disclosed this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said: “I presented a memo at the Federal Executive Council meeting of today and it approved a contract for the provision of security services for the Abuja Light Rail Mass Transit System.
“These companies are Messrs Al-Ahali Security Guards Limited and Messrs Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited.
“They are going to provide security to the entire 45 kilometres of track. including 12 stations.
“And these security services are meant to protect the key infrastructure on the rail track, the signalling and communication equipment as well as the electrical system.
“Al-Ahali Security Guards Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometres of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407, 214,000 over a two-year period.
“Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited is going to secure 18 kilometres of the rail track, including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310, 979,250.”
The Minister of Transportation, Umar Sambo, also revealed that the Council approved N1.4 billion for the purchase of spare parts and repairs of a crane of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
He said that the crane, which played a vital role in carrying out activities of the corporation, was now broken-down and needed to be fixed.
“Today, I had the privilege of presenting before the Council, a memorandum from the Ministry of Transportation on behalf of one of its agencies, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, for the purchase of spare parts and to undertake the repairs and overhaul of one of its critical cranes.
“Council considered the memorandum because this crane is required by the corporation for emergency repairs of its rolling stock; it has broken down and. therefore, needs to be fixed.
“Approval was given in the total sum of N1, 491, 065, 722.72, inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT, with a completion period of 12 months,” he said.
The minister, who also fielded questions on the suspension of the Abuja-Kaduna railway services, following the March 28 attack on the train, said that two issues were delaying the resumption of the train services.
Sambo said that the issues included families traumatized over their family members still in captivity of terrorists and the need to have surveillance facilities to monitor the rail track.
According to him, government was looking at the best options in terms of the surveillance, including its concession under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
On the exact timeline to execute the initiative, the minister said: “If I give a timeline, I’ll be lying to you.
“It will be insensitive to restart the service if some families weep day and night over their family members still in the bush.”
He said that the government was also mindful of the cost involved but should be able to report definite progress in about a month’s time.