NIGERIAN President Olusegun Obasanjo participated in a ceremony on May 7 to launch the construction of a metro network in the capital Abuja, which he expects will be completed in 15 years. Emphasising that ’no modern city can develop without a modern transport system’, Obasanjo said the three-phase project would be financed using a US$841m loan from the Chinese government. According to the minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai, the work will be undertaken by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Co, and will be able to handle 30?000 passengers/h. In the longer term, he anticipated, the network would extend to 280?route-km, connecting the FCT with satellite towns such as Karu, Nyanya, Kubwa and Gwagwalada.Last year the FCT administration appointed CPCS to undertake studies for the initial phase, including a feasibility analysis, drawing up a concessioning strategy and assisting in cost negotiations with the infrastructure contractor. Invitations to tender for the operating concession are expected to be issued later this year.n