Posted by JUSTOURS
The Federal Government has lifted the ban on interstate travels. Chairman of the Presidential Task Force ((PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had announced that domestic flights will resume July 8 ad the reopening of schools, meant to allow students in graduating classes, final year students, resume preparation for examinations, at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja last Monday. The second phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown in the country has also been extended by four weeks.
“I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through midnight of Monday, July 27, 2020,” he said.
Transporters said they were glad to see that happen. The transporters like everyone else in the country were on lockdown since last March to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The effects of the coronavirus crisis were already there. The Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON) urged the federal government to help facilitate loan facilities and other palliatives for its member, saying that the loan facilities and palliatives will assist members overcome economic challenges associated with boundary closure, lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. They were perhaps counting month, weeks, days and minutes to go back to work.
What makes the lifting of an on interstate travel perfect sense was the extortion going on. What happened was that the organized private sector of the transport business obeyed government instruction to lockdown, usurpers the kabu kabu (unregistered drivers) took over the business. People were actually travelling. JUSTOURS gathered that “Soldiers and other uniform men hijacked the big business.”
A trader, who was stuck at her country-home during the lockdown was desperate to reunite with her family in Lagos, said she had to pay without minding the exorbitant cost of transport. “I travelled from Ihiala to Onitsha Head-bridge, Anambra State where I board a Toyota Sienna vehicle going to Lagos. Can you believe the driver collected N15,000, 00 (fifteen thousand naira) from me and other passengers who were also doing sharp sharp travel?“she asked. Adding: “It their time.”
Another traveler maintained that it was market forces that came into play. People were actually traveling everywhere they want to. “The demand was there ut few vehicles were on the road. I traveled to Lagos last week. N15, 500 (this was not good) from Abuja to Lagos.
Frank Ike, a Lagos-based journalist, who relived his experience to JUSTOURS explained the high cost of transport. “I travelled last week. Every road block must collect N500. If you don’t have change, police will find change. The driver factored this into the fare. Everything was OK and the road was very busy as if I was going for Xmas,” he said.
At present, cost of transport has returned to normal, Transport fare from Jibowu, Lagos, a popular terminal to Onitsha now cost N6.000.00 instead of N15,000,00 paid during the lockdown .
The Chairman, RTEAN in Kwara, Olayinka Onikijipa, reportedly applauded the federal government for lifting the ban on interstate movement, describing it as a” welcome development.” He said, “We are very happy at the development. This marks the end of hunger caused by the pandemic. We appreciate our President and the Federal Government for lifting the ban and for all they are doing to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The union has put in place guidelines to ensure drivers and passengers do not disobey government’s directives on preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
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