Dr. Oladele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals Development and chairman of the Committee on the Implementation of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s End of Year Transportation Subsidy Programme, expressed immense satisfaction in declaring the program an astounding achievement. According to him, more than 160,000 passengers have been greatly advantaged by this successful initiative. He stated that during the period between December 21 and December 31, 2023, the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) achieved remarkable outcomes, transporting 71,000 passengers. Additionally, operating under the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON), buses successfully conveyed an impressive 77,122 passengers.
In a progress report published by his Special Adviser, Kehinde Bamigbetan, Alake conveyed the details. He mentioned that the plan, ratified by President Tinubu on December 19, 2023, offers complimentary transportation along the NRC routes. Additionally, a substantial 50% discount on fare prices is provided to commuters using the 30 routes served by bus operators affiliated with ALBON. Incorporating his deep understanding of the Nigerian people’s strong cultural and emotional attachment to returning to their hometowns at year-end, he emphasised that the program stood as a remarkable illustration of the President’s genuine care and affection towards his fellow citizens.
Transportation cost strain was alleviated through partnerships.
He stated that the aim of the program was also to alleviate the monetary strain on individuals dealing with economic hardships caused by the global pandemic and internal circumstances. The committee made efforts to rectify shortcomings in the program implementation by implementing certain initiatives. These initiatives encompassed the inclusion of two extra routes, involving additional stakeholders such as the National Union of Road Transport Workers, the State-owned Transport Companies, and the Private Transport Operators Association (PTONA). Furthermore, they also worked together with media outlets to collaborate and raise awareness among Nigerians.
Also, the Minister’s report discloses an interesting fact that about 15,766 individuals embarked on 652 bus trips originating travels from Oshodi Interchange in Lagos. Furthermore, during the period of December 21 to 31, 2023, the NRC transported 71,000 passengers, while ALBON’s buses accommodated 77,122 passengers. In just a mere ten days of the program’s launch, the Presidential Yuletide Transportation Subsidy has proven to be a valuable asset, offering its fruitful advantages to about 163,878 commuters.
Passengers were successfully transported to their locations.
Additionally, it was mentioned in the report by Alake that those who embarked on train journeys were provided with complimentary services while those who travelled by road were only required to pay 50 percent of the regular fares. The amount of subsidy varied based on the fare cost, resulting in a reduction of ₦21,500 for a ₦43,000 Lagos-Abuja road trip and a ₦15,000 deduction for a ₦30,000 Lagos-Onitsha bus fare. Until Thursday, January 4, 2024, the ongoing program necessitates the requesting collaboration from both the passengers and bus companies to successfully oversee the transportation of passengers from their individual destinations back to their bases.
His evaluation of the scheme up until now reveals it to be an enormous achievement on the government’s part, highlighting the transportation rebate as evidence of President Tinubu’s deep affection for the Nigerian people. This program has unquestionably triumphed and serves as a vibrant manifestation of an influential leadership fueled by emotional intelligence. According to the Minister, the yuletide transportation scheme aimed to cater to the vast number of Nigerians exactly where they required assistance.
Relevant government security agencies were also engaged.
Alake emphasised the importance of travellers promptly commencing their homeward journey to ensure they secure seats on the coaches and buses for the return leg. Additionally, he called upon all bus companies involved to exhibit trust, honesty, and love for their country by implementing the 50 percent subsidy and ensuring an ample number of vehicles are accessible. The minister emphasised that the committee will persist in overseeing adherence and intervening as required. Furthermore, the Minister provided reassurance that the relevant government security agencies have been thoroughly informed, guaranteeing unrestricted entry and departure of travellers at the parks.