Abuja Light Rail

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Abuja Rail Mass Transit
LocaleAbuja, FCT, Nigeria
Transit typeLight metro
Number of lines2
Line numberYellow line, Blue line
Number of stations12
System length44.7 km (27.8 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
System map
Abuja Rail Mass Transit.svg

Abuja Rail Mass Transit commonly known as Abuja Light Rail is a light rail transport system in Abuja in FCT, Nigeria. It is first rapid transit in the country and in Western Africa and second such system in sub-saharan Africa (after Addis Ababa Light Rail). The first phase of the project connects the city center to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, stopping at the standard gauge railway station in Idu. The Abuja Metro Line was launched on 12 July 2018.[1]


The Abuja rail mass transit project Phase 1 consists of a 'Lot 1' and 'Lot 3' line.

Lot 1 Line consists of Lot1A and Lot1B line. Total length is 23.718 km (14.738 mi).

Lot 1A (Proposed Stations) - Idu - Gwa Gwa - Dei Dei - Jibi - Gbazango - Byazhin - Kubwa

Lot 1B (Proposed Stations) - Ring Road 1 - Garki - Transportation Centre - Wuse - Employment Centre - Utako - Jabi I - Jabi II - Ring Road III - Gwarinpa - Karmo

Lot 3 (Proposed Stations) - Abuja - Stadium - National Park - Ring Road II - Wupa - Idu - Airport North - Airport

The complete network is planned to link Abuja with satellite towns such as Nyanya, Kubwa, Mararaba and Lugbe.

$US840 million, 78 km (48 mi) Abuja Light Rail System (ALRS).[2]

Some of the lines extend from the Federal Capital Territory into the neighbouring states.

Lines and stations[edit]

The first part of the network was commissioned on July 12, 2018, twelve stations opened in this first phase.[3]

Yellow line[edit]

The Yellow line travels from Abuja's Central Business District to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Stations Location
Abuja Metro 9°03′02″N 7°28′19″E / 9.0505°N 7.4719°E / 9.0505; 7.4719
Stadium 9°02′45″N 7°27′06″E / 9.0459°N 7.4517°E / 9.0459; 7.4517
Kukwaba I 9°02′25″N 7°26′28″E / 9.0402°N 7.4410°E / 9.0402; 7.4410
Kukwaba II 9°01′50″N 7°25′21″E / 9.0306°N 7.4226°E / 9.0306; 7.4226
Wupa 9°01′29″N 7°23′42″E / 9.0247°N 7.3950°E / 9.0247; 7.3950
Idu 9°02′48″N 7°20′32″E / 9.0466°N 7.3421°E / 9.0466; 7.3421
Bassanjiwa 9°00′49″N 7°16′57″E / 9.0136°N 7.2824°E / 9.0136; 7.2824
Airport 9°00′22″N 7°16′19″E / 9.0062°N 7.2720°E / 9.0062; 7.2720

Blue Line[edit]

The Blue Line travels from Idu to Kubwa.

Stations Location
Idu 9°02′48″N 7°20′32″E / 9.0466°N 7.3421°E / 9.0466; 7.3421
Gwagwa 9°05′24″N 7°17′07″E / 9.0901°N 7.2852°E / 9.0901; 7.2852
Deidei 9°06′22″N 7°17′14″E / 9.1061°N 7.2872°E / 9.1061; 7.2872
Kagini 9°07′28″N 7°17′32″E / 9.1245°N 7.2922°E / 9.1245; 7.2922
Gbazango 9°09′13″N 7°18′40″E / 9.1536°N 7.3110°E / 9.1536; 7.3110

Some of the other stations, outside Abuja Municipality, include:


On October 9, 2006, President Obasanjo said “no nation has achieved holistic development without a coherent, integrated, efficient and reliable transportation system” while setting out his vision for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s 3500km rail network. The  grand plan is summed as the Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernization project. The contract was awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Co (CCECC), for $8.3bn, to be funded with a soft loan of from China.However, due to funding problems, it was later redesigned to be executed in standalone segments and the existing 1,124km narrow gauge Lagos-Kano line was rehabilitated. The Abuja-Kaduna segment is the first to be implemented as part of the standard gauge project.Obasanjo added that a new line would be built for 100km from Minna to Abuja, continuing for 205km beyond the capital to Kaduna. He also said phase II would see reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Jos route.

However, in November 2007, the President Yar’Adua administration stopped the project  due to “paucity of fund” considering the global economic crisis in 2008.Diezani Alison-Madueke, then minister of transportation, announced that the programme was “posing challenges to the current administration”. The intention to source funding from the country’s excess crude account had “constitutional limitations”, she said, and an anticipated $1.28bn loan from China “crashed for a number of reasons”. President Yar’Adua was worried that the first payments were made without appropriation and there was no engineering design in place, according to a senior official in his administration who spoke with TheCable off-record. President Yar’Adua insisted that the proper thing must be done, and even invited the respected geographer and urban planning expert, Professor Akin Mabogunje, to a meeting to discuss how the entire rail system could be modernised,” the former official said.The Abuja-Kaduna project was then finalised in 2009. The contract for building the new line was awarded in December 2010.

According to Railway Technology, the construction of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line started in February 2011 and was completed in December 2014. Vice President Jonathan was acting president from February to May 2010 and President from May 2010 to May 2015.The Abuja-Kaduna segment is the first to be implemented as part of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge project under the first standard gauge railway modernization projects (SGRMP) in Nigeria.In October 2014, the federal executive council (FEC) approved $6.6 million for the procurement of two locomotives for the Abuja- Kaduna rail. After Jonathan assumed power upon winning the 2011 presidential election, he initiated the high-speed rail project.In 2014, it was rated by KPMG, one of the leading consulting firms in the world, to be among the global top 100 world-class infrastructure projects. The rail will connect Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Warri, Bauchi, Abuja, and Port Harcourt and will cost the country $13 billion, much of which will be financed with a loan from the Export Import Bank of China. The China Railway Construction Corporation secured the contract to build the 3,218km network, which will be digitally operated using fibre-optic cables, radio communication and wireless services. The project is designed to cover 54 stations and will take 25 years to build.

The President Jonathan administration could not have lasted 25 years, given Nigeria’s four-year term for presidency. At most, he might have won his 2015 re-election bid and would have spent nine years in power. As government is a continuum, the project did not fade with the end of his tenure. Buhari took over and inherited what Jonathan started.  The 187 km standard gauge line between Kaduna and Abuja was inaugurated by President Buhari on July 26, 2016, with standard gauge railway tracks from Idu, near Abuja, to Kaduna in the north-western region of Nigeria. It has ten stations and features both passenger and cargo trains. Senate President Bukola Saraki had said the launch is “indeed an epoch-making event as it pushes Nigeria closer to achieving economic diversification by bridging the gaps in our nation’s infrastructure”. And upon the completion of the rail line, Buhari travelled to Kaduna to inaugurate it. The inauguration is no longer within the powers of Obasanjo and Jonathan, even though they had worked on the project before Buhari.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Abuja Light Rail: Buhari Launches, Inspects Airport Terminal". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  2. ^ http://www.urbanrail.net/af/abuja/abuja.htm
  3. ^ "Buhari to commission $823.5m Abuja light rail on Thursday". Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  4. ^ Jamilah, Nasir. "Whose 'handiwork' is Kaduna-Abuja rail? Obasanjo or Jonathan?". TheCable. Jamilah Nasir. Retrieved January 8, 2018.