Lack of progress on the light rail project in the Nigerian capital Abuja has been brought into question several times since it began in 2007. On 24 July, the newspaper This Day reported that the work is still only 27% complete. It quoted Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister Senator Bala Mohammed promising the previous day at a “groundbreaking ceremony of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Station”, that the project is to be accelerated. “Mohammed said the project would mark a positive turning point in the transport fortunes in the FCT, in addition to a cheaper, comfortable and safer transportation.” Minister for the economy and finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had facilitated a $US500 million soft loan from the Chinese Exim Bank that had “breathed a new life to the near moribund project.”
According to Mohammed, the study carried out in 2010 predicted daily ridership of about 470,000 passengers. Taking into account the current growth rate in the FCT, he thought 700,000 daily passengers might use the system by 2015, by when he was confident the line would be complete and in operation.