NASS urges transport ministry to check increased fares

Gbemisola Saraki

Sen. Gbemisola Saraki

Sen. Gbemisola Saraki

By Lucy Ogalue

The National Assembly (NASS) has urged the Ministry of Transportation to develop ways at checking arbitrary hikes on transportation fares during festive periods.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Eric Orjiekwe, the Director Press and Public Relations of the ministry on Friday.

Saraki made the remark during a meeting with stakeholders in the road transport sector in Abuja.

She said the meeting was at the instance of the House of Representatives, following deliberations on the arbitrary increase in transport fares during festive periods, particularly for land transport.

Saraki, represented by the Director, Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration of the ministry, Mary Ejembi, said an in-depth look at reasons for fare hikes which cause the citizens pains and affect the economy adversely was the trust of the meeting.

According to Ejembi, the lawmakers were concerned that well-meaning Nigerians were already viewing the situation as gross exhibition of greed.

She said they also viewed it as a monumental corruption on the part of transporters who capitalise on high commuter traffic to exploit the people.

She said: ”The stakeholders after due deliberations, called on the Federal Government to prioritise road construction and maintenance to reduce the damage to vehicles.

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”They called on the government to reduce park duties while also enacting traffic laws backed up with technology.

”They also advised that the activities of unions be monitored and regulated to reduce the hardship on passengers.

”They equally suggested that road transport unions should be compelled to organise periodic trainings for drivers to curb incessant road mishaps.”

Earlier, the National President, Driving School Association of Nigeria (DSAN), Mr Jide Owatunmise, in his remarks disclosed that “recovery factor” was one of the elements responsible for the hike in fares during festive periods.

Owatunmise said this was because road operators see festive periods as an opportunity to recover lost grounds during off-festive seasons.

The Deputy National Secretary-General, Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Henry Ugwu, said double taxation from bodies and establishments like the state governments and local councils as well as vigilantes were among causative forces driving up the fares.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the the Deputy Director, RT/MT, FMT, Ojo Idihaloise; the General Secretary, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mr Anthony Asogwa; and President, Almgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria also attended the meeting.

The Managing Director, Road Accident Prevention Network Centre, Mr Ache Ogu; representative from the Nigerian Police Force, Olarewaju Stephen; President, Painted Abuja Taxi, Shehu Shugaba- Yar’Adua; and President, Female Drivers Association of Nigeria, Eunice Odeghe, were also present at the interface.

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