June 23, 2024
11 11 11 AM
NIMC DENOUNCES ALLEGATION OF DATA BREACH: ADVISES NIGERIANS TO AVOID GIVING DATA TO PHISHING SITES
PRESIDENT TINUBU SAYS CIVIL SERVANTS IN DIASPORA STILL EARNING SALARIES BACK HOME WITHOUT FORMALLY RESIGNING WILL BE PUNISHED           
TROOPS APPREHEND FAKE RECRUITMENT OFFICIAL IN TARABA STATE
GOVERNOR ABBA KABIR ORDERS CRACKDOWN ON THUGGERY IN KANO
2 PERSONS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN A FIGHT BETWEEN TWO RIVAL GROUPS IN NIGER
KANO GOVERNMENT ADVICES RESIDENTS AGAINST DRINKING RAINWATER TO PREVENT CHOLERA OUTBREAK
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CAUCUS DISOWNS MEMBER, SAYS YOU HAVE NO PERMISSION TO SPEAK FOR US                                                                                                                                         
ZAMFARA GOVERNOR FLAGS OFF REMODELLING, UPGRADING AND EQUIPPING OF YARIMAN BAKURA SPECIALIST HOSPITAL, GUSAU             
MD OF FAAN ESTABLISHES A DEDICATED TASK FORCE TO ELIMINATE TOUTING, EXTORTION, ETC AT THE AIRPORTS
PRESIDENCY SAYS IT IS CONFIDENT THAT NIGERIA WILL BE THE GREEN REFERENCE POINT FOR LARGE PRODUCERS IN AFRICA   
Logo image within link text

DESPITE FG’s REBATE FOR YULETIDE FARES SOARING, NORTHERN STATES MISSING IN DEAL                                 

Share

DESPITE FG’s REBATE FOR YULETIDE FARES SOARING, NORTHERN STATES MISSING IN DEAL                                                                                                 23-12-23

By Sadiq Aminu                                                    Two days after its take-off, the federal government’s 50 percent reduction in transport fares and free train ride are facing teething problems in most northern states.

First, there is poor awareness among the targeted beneficiaries of the arrangement. Also, the selected transport companies are not operational on the designated routes in the North from the 28 routes announced by the government on Wednesday.

The five transport companies selected for the exercise withdrew their services from the northern states in the wake of the escalation of insurgency and banditry,  has revealed.

Some of the routes picked to serve the North have take-off points from the South East and South West, terminating up North.

*The routes are:* Abuja-Sokoto, Abuja-Gombe, Abuja-Kano, Onitsha-Abuja, Onitsha-Kano, Lagos-Kaduna-Zaria, Onitsha-Zaki Biam, Onitsha-Jos and Lagos-Kano.

Also, travellers in most northern states are yet to benefit from the government’s free train ride as the services of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have been grounded for several years. Only the Abuja-Kaduna rail route is in operation.

In a bid to alleviate the financial burden of transportation costs during the festive season, the federal government had chosen prominent transport companies to execute a 50 per cent transport subsidy.

According to the government, five million Nigerians are expected to benefit from the intervention, which began on Thursday and will end on January 4, 2024.

The participating transport companies are GIG (God is Good), Chisco Transport, Young Shall Grow and Area Motors.

When AFRICA 247  visited the major motor parks and metropolises, their offices and stations could not be located.

The worst hit is the North East region, where the affected transport companies had shut down their operations following the escalation of banditry and insurgency in the region.

Consequently, travellers in the region are not benefitting from the scheme and have to embark on their journey through private firms and other operators.

One of the northern states, which does not benefit from the arrangement in Kwara. The state, which is very strategic in movement to the North and South, is missing on the route list. The same goes for Kogi State, which serves as an interchange between the North and South for commuters.

In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the companies selected for the transport rebate have no parks and offices.

Investigation by AFRICA 247 showed that passengers from Ilorin were patronising the regular motor parks in the metropolis and contending with high fares charged by commercial vehicle operators.

The train services have also been halted along the Ilorin route due to the faulty rail lines on the route.

A commuter, Mr Biola Yahaya, who was travelling from Ilorin to Ibadan, lamented the exclusion of Ilorin from the designated routes.

He said he had to pay the exorbitant fare because of the festive season.

Another resident, Lukman Deji, whose family resides in Osogbo, Osun State, said he would have preferred travelling by train to Osogbo if it was operational in the route.

In Kano, of the five transport companies to provide the 50 percent discount for travellers, only one operates in the state, God Bless Ezenwata.

At the Bob Marley Express Bus Park located at the Western Bypass, otherwise called Ring Road in Kano, the remaining four operators were not on ground.

However, God Bless Ezenwata had reduced the fares from Kano to some Eastern states from N30,000 to N23,000, slashing only N7,000 which is less than the 50 percent of the original rate as announced by the federal government.

The rate being paid to Lagos in particular remains unchanged at N25,000.

Other private companies operating from Kano to the South East and the South West, but not included in the government arrangement, that is, Kano to Onitsha and Kano to Lagos, respectively, still collect the usual fare of N30,000 to the East and N25,000 to the West.

They are Delta Express, Silver Express, Welfare Transport, SD Transport and Chimezie Transport.

One of the travellers, who prefers not to be mentioned, complained that all the companies contracted for the 50 percent deal only operate in Abuja, adding that it is only God Bless Ezenwata that has buses in Kano.

He said, “The federal government did not plan this very well. In case they want to continue with this, more needs to be done. Transport companies that will operate from states need to be identified, especially from Kano to the eastern parts or western parts.”

All the selected transport companies do not have garages in Dutse capital or anywhere else in Jigawa State. However, passengers’ turnout was high at all the motor parks.

It was observed that the transport fares had been increased due to higher cost of petroleum and other vehicle spare parts.

Residents of Taraba State yesterday lamented their exclusion from the government’s 50 percent cut in transport fares and free train ride.

The residents also said none of the companies selected for exercise operates from the state.

Two of the residents Madam Mary Angyu and Mallam Inuwa Yahaya, who spoke with our correspondent at Jalingo Main Motor Park, accused the government of discriminating against the state.

Some private transport operators in the state said it was wrong of the government to leave them out of the intervention.

The general manager AA. Danpulo, Mallam Idris Hamisu, said it would amount to neglect if the federal government treats some states better than others.

The state commissioner for information and re-orientation Hon. Zeinab Jalingo described the omission of the state from the 50 rebate as a serious oversight.

She urged the President Bola Tinubu-led government to reconsider its decision and open up the routes in the state for the people to benefit from the exercise.

Travellers from and to Bauchi have decried how the transport fare reduction sidelined them and made them pay stupendous amounts traveling for Christmas festivities.

AFRICA 247 reports that none of the engaged transport firms operates in Bauchi. Similarly, neither has a park or station in the state.

Taimako Mathar, 26, who travelled from Abuja to Bauchi for this year’s Christmas told our reporter that she paid N11,000 to be conveyed by a commercial bus.

For Mathar, arriving Bauchi is not the end of her journey, which means she has to spend more on transportation before she could reach her country home, Marti, a remote community in Tafawa Balewa local government.

“I don’t know how much I will pay to get to my village from Bauchi. The spending is exorbitant and unbearable,” she decried.

Tsammani John, who traveled to Bauchi from Ibadan, said he paid the same amount as charged since the removal of fuel subsidy. He said a lot of people could not travel home this festive season despite the urgent desire to, because of a hike in transport fare, a burning economic hardship in the country.

Checks at motor parks in Bauchi metropolis showed seemingly deserted parks with several vehicles parked waiting to their turns to load passengers who are not trooping out, the lowest ever in decades.

Travellers in Borno State are not benefitting from the scheme because none of the enlisted companies plies the North-East routes. Besides, due to the lingering Boko Haram insurgency in the state and some parts of the North East, luxury bus owners have abandoned the state.

The last luxury buses that plied Borno route are GUO Motors and the Young Shall Grow Motors. They shut their offices about five years ago despite the emerging peace in the route, and several pleas by travellers for them to resume services.

Not even the train services that are part of the deal would benefit because for the past 30 years, the rail system that extended to the state had been grounded.

Reacting to the development, Mr Emmanuel Nwabuze, who travelled to the South East with his family, lamented the non-inclusion of the state in the fare slash in view of the current economic crunch affecting the state.

Adamawa State did not also benefit from the cut in transport fare and free train initiative.

Although the state has a Young Shall Grow terminus, their drivers and passengers were not aware of the initiative.

In Niger State, none of the transport companies operate in the state. The Zaria-Kaduna-Minna to the South West has not operated in the past one year.

A check at Minna Railway Station, off Piggery Road, showed that the station had been abandoned for a long time.

Similarly, a check at the luxury bus park at Sabongari Minna showed that none of the transport companies that ply Minna-Onitsha, Minna-Lagos and Minna-Enugu roads were included in the scheme.

There are no train services to Jos, the Plateau State capital.

At the time of filing this report, railway engineers were replacing some of the rail tracks vandalised by hoodlums. In fact, most of the travellers were not aware of the government’s intervention.

In Jos, only Young Shall Grow, Chisco and Ezenwata are in operation.

A visit to their parks showed that no bus operates from Jos to Onisha while staff members of these companies declined to comment on the development.

Two residents, Mr. Emeka David and Adamu Mohammed, said there was no publicity on the 50 percent transport cut as most travellers were not aware of it.

At the Plateau Riders’ office and other motor parks, commuters trooped there to board vehicles to their various destinations.

The government’s cut in transport fare for commuters from Lagos to Owerri appears uncertain as most passengers claimed ignorance of it.

When AFRICA 247 correspondent visited Chisco and the Young Shall Grow parks, it was discovered that most commuters were not aware of the arrangement.

A traveller, Chidi Uwandu, said he was not aware of the announcement and called on the government to carry out adequate sensitisation.

In her comment, Mrs Oluchi Igbokwe said she paid online to the Young Shall Grow and was not informed of the arrangement. AFRICA 247 correspondent who visited various motor parks, like Command junction, Television Garage, Kawo Park, and Kogi travellers among others, reports that the parks were filled up with travellers arriving and traveling out of the state to celebrate Christmas and New Year festivities with their families.

One of the travellers, Samson Kure, who disembarked from Benue Links’ Park along Kachia Road, said, “I am an indigene of Kaduna state but based in Makurdi and working there. I entered Benue Links motor from Makurdi at N9,000 to Kaduna. Despite hardship, I decided to manage to go home to celebrate Christmas with my family in Kaduna and return to Makurdi after the New Year. If you go to Benue Links, Makurdi, it is like a market crowd with people going to their local routes in the state. I heard the governor subsidised transport fares, especially on local routes.”

Another traveller from Kogi State who came through the Kogi Travellers Bus, Madam Felicia Kato, said she had to painfully cough out N36,000 for her and her three children from Lokoja to Kaduna.

For Mr Patrick Auta who was to travel to Port Harcourt from Kaduna Television Garage, he was forced to cancel the journey because the fare is exorbitant. He postponed the trip to after the festive period.

A member of the road transport workers said passengers’ turnout is low because of the high fares, adding that it is not the fault of the transporters because the chunk of the fares they collect goes to fuel and extortion on the road by security personnel.

At Hajiya Halima Motor Park, there was reduced number of travellers. An official of the NURTW, who spoke with our correspondent, said “Unlike last year, the number of passengers trooping to the park to travel southward is not high this year.”

Commercial motorists in Katsina State have decried poor patronage few days to Christmas.

According to them, when Christmas remains two to three weeks, they normally experience high patronage from workers who travel to their various towns for Christmas, but even two days before Christmas, there is no sigh of people travelling.

There was a mass exodus of people from Gombe State capital on Friday as Christians prepare to celebrate this year’s Christmas.

AFRICA 247 gathered that the residents of the state capital left the capital city for their various local governments, villages in the state and others to their states of origin.

This is even as the state received a lot of its indigenes from neighbouring states who came back to mark the Christmas festival.

Speaking with our correspondent, some of the travellers who included Muslims too, explained that they wanted to use the upcoming Christmas festival holiday to be with their families and friends.

Although scanty transport vehicles including buses and taxis plying inter – state routes could be noticed at major parks in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, few passengers arriving for the Christmas wore long faces due to weariness and high cost of transportation.

Many of them were seen bargaining intra – city fares with commercial taxi drivers and tricyclists for some connecting movements to their villages with their load, after disembarking at the bus terminus including the Itam and the Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) parks, located on the outskirts of Uyo, at Itam, in Itu LGA.

Arriving from the neighbouring Port Harcourt, Rivers State, a journey of approximately two hours from the Mile 1 park at Diobu, within the Port Harcourt City centre, and Waterlines, by the Port Harcourt – Aba expressway, Regina Inyang regretted the movement to Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, saying: “I can’t imagine paying N7,000 for a journey that used to cost about N3,00 a couple of months ago.

Despite President Tinubu’s directive for a 50 percent cut in land transportation during the Yuletide season, many Edo residents returning to celebrate with their families have lamented the astronomical increase of transport fares.

Evelyn Nogwero, an Abuja based entrepreneur who arrived in Benin to celebrate the Christmas and New Year, lamented the high cost of transportation and noted that many Nigerians are suffering and may not be able to travel.

She said if something urgent is not done, the fares may further go up in addition to the already bad situation in the Country.

Nogwero said a popular transporter, Big Joe Motors, charges between N27, 000 and N30, 000 from Abuja to Benin as against N25, 000 few months ago.

Despite the economic challenges facing the country, there is a large number of travellers, especially, indigenes of Rivers State returning to the state for the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

A visit to major motor parks in Port Harcourt, the state capital, including Abali Park, Mile Three Park, Waterlines and Rumuokoro Park, showed a lot of travelers trying to catch vehicles that would take them to the countryside.

AFRICA 247 observed that the majority of the travellers are coming from Lagos and Abuja as well as other states in the North, while others are returning from neighbouring states like Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, Imo and Delta amongst others.

It was also observed that while those coming in from Abuja, Lagos and some states in the North, enjoyed the slash in transportation fare by the federal government, others paid more than 100 percent of the normal fare to get to Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile, the minister of information and national orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, said the rebate arrangement could be expanded if the need arises.

At a world press conference on Wednesday in Abuja to present Tinubu’s scorecard, the minister said more transport firms could be added to the existing ones if they were found to be inadequate.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Leave a Reply

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Home
Our Channel
About Us
Contact Us
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x