By Akin Akande
As the Federal Capital Territory Administration sets to begin the implementation of its new transportation policy, the Owners and Drivers of Mini-bus Town Service Association in the nation’s capital have said it would resist what it called unpopular new transport policy banning mini-bus operations within the Central Business District of Abuja.
The Association said that the policy which would commence Monday 14, January, 2013 is anti-masses and would introduce large scale hardship to the drivers and the commuters who use them even as it called on the FCT Minister to intervene and review the policy to have human face.
Secretary of the Association, Prince Charles who gave the stand of the association at a press conference at the Nigerian Union of Journalist, Utako Abuja to reject the policy said “we will resist this inhuman policy within the ambit of the law” if the administration insists on carrying out the policy.
“It is highly regrettable that the proponents of the new law/policy which is billed to come into operation on 14th January 2013 never for a moment ponder on the hardship, suffering and inconveniencies their ill-digested policy would unleash on the bus operators and toiling masses of this city,” the association stated.
The association also queried the rationale behind the decision of the FCT administration through its transport secretariat to promote such a law that would make the association of over 30, 000 membership jobless at a time the country is battling with challenges of unemployment and seeking to improve on the employment ratio amongst the citizens.
He pointed out that members of the associations are Nigerians who through hard work created a source of earning to live a decent and civil life and wonder how such a people would be rewarded with such fate that would force members of their livelihood at a time the nation is faced with various social challenges.
According to him: “in the nation today the government is still grappling with the intractable issue of unemployment, corruption, crimes and insecurity which are the bane of economic activities and it appears the government has no solution to these hydra-headed socio-economic vices.
“It is difficult to understand why the FCT transport department overlooks these situation and want to create more hardship and destroy families by imposing this faceless, iniquitous and obnoxious transport policy.
“The execution and implementation of this obnoxious policy will render thousands of bus owners, drivers and conductors and their families jobless. It is our opinion that allowing this anti-people decision to stand will surely pitch the people against the government for the reason that many will be impoverished as both bus owners and drivers will be out of business with its attendant social consequences”
Prince debunked any knowledge of the N1billion subsidy arrangement bandied by the administration to cushion the effect of the new policy when it comes on stream as earlier stated by the FCT Transportation Secretary to reporters in August of 2013.
While stating its readiness for a peaceful resolution of the matter, the association called on the FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed to consider the consequences of the policy and reverse it in the interest of the people as he has the powers to do so.