By Kasim Sumaina
The federal government on Tuesday said that only duly registered road transport unions will be considered under its N10 billion intervention fund for transport workers and operators.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, gave the hint when the National President, National Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NACTOMORAS), Alhaji Muhammed Sani Hassan, led its members on a courtesy call on the minister in her office in Abuja.
Saraki while appreciating the association for the visit, called for synergy among transport stakeholders, even as she assured them of government’s commitment to assisting the associations/unions and instill sanity in the sector through a regulatory framework the ministry is coming up with.
The Minister of State, in a statement by the Director of Press, Public Relations of the ministry, Mr. Eric Ojiekwe, stated that the pandemic has necessitated the need for contact tracing of passengers as normalcy is gradually being restored in the country.
She also tasked the executive council to ensure that their members are duly registered as only properly registered road transporters will be considered for the palliative.
Saraki, however, brought to the knowledge of the delegation that: “The ministry is aware of the role ‘keke’ and ‘okada’ operators play in transportation in Nigeria, and the Transport Commissioner’s Forum had also mentioned to her the essential services the operators provide.”
Similarly, the NACTOMORAS National President, in his remarks, implored the Minister of State to give tricycle and motorcycle operators/owners special consideration in the disbursement of the intervention fund.
According to Sani, members of the association were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the business is closest to, “hand to mouth” which stripped off every little savings they had before the catastrophe due to the stay at home order of the federal government.
He said that it was a sigh of relief when news emerged that the federal government has approved a N10 billion support for road transport operators and workers to assuage their challenges and prayed the minister to look into their plea favorably.