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Yuletide: Peter Obi Raises Concerns Over 50% Fare Slash Implementation

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the last election, Peter Obi, has raised concerns over the Federal Government’s 50 per cent slash…

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the last election, Peter Obi, has raised concerns over the Federal Government’s 50 per cent slash in interstate bus fares.

Obi, who said this on Friday in a thread on his X handle, said there were obvious questions on the implementation of the intervention.

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday approved a 50 per cent slash in the price of interstate transport fares for Nigerians travelling during the Yuletide, from Thursday 21, 2023 to January 4, 2024. He also approved free train rides for commuters within the period.

Obi also commended the initiative, saying, “If fully implemented as reported, I consider this first-time intervention of the government, intended to help the masses, a step in the right direction.”

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He, however, said he was concerned about such emergency measures and what follows it.

He stated, “The high cost of transportation and associated hardships are all well known. The question this seasonal palliative raises is that, what happens after the festive season? Is there a sustainable policy measure to cushion the masses from the current high transportation costs?

“Even the current effort comes with operational challenges. Millions of people have already travelled, bearing the brunt and huge costs of such travels. How will such people get their refund or be compensated?”

He added that following the announcement, he took time to assess the implementation across different cities, noting that the feedback he received had been disappointing.

He stated, “Today, I sent out contacts who consulted widely with the transporters in major parks across the country: in Abuja they carried out on-the-spot investigation in Jabi/Utako areas; in Lagos they visited major parks like Jibowu, Festac, Mile 12, Ajah, and Mazamaza and none of the transporters in these parks was aware of this 50 per cent discount.

“At Upper Iweka, Onitsha, which is the main traffic hub in Anambra, and in other parts of the country like Kano, Aba, Kaduna, Owerri and Gombe, the story is the same.”

The former Anambra State governor noted that the government also announced the few transport companies chosen to participate in the intervention for which 28 routes had been designated.

He said there were no checks and balances announced to ensure that the transporters follow the terms of the contract.

Obi said, “One expects that such a policy that strives to appeal to the broad masses, especially the downtrodden, deliberate and concrete arrangements should be made with transport companies.

“I pray that this is not yet another spin to curry favour in the media space after appetising the people. The Nigerian people are going through untold hardship and the government must not remain insensitive to their suffering.”

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