The President Bola Tinubu-led administration has purchased dilapidated Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered buses to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal and ease mass transit for Nigerians, according to SaharaReporters.
A team of panel beaters, technicians, and painters carried out repairs to fix and rebrand the dilapidated CNG buses at the Federal Secretariat car park in Abuja.
The panel beaters were seen carrying out body work on the CNG buses while the painters painted the dented parts of the buses to give them a face-lift. Some of the buses had oil dripping from their engines.
It was revealed that the high-capacity buses belonged to the Federal Ministry of Transport as part of a palliative programme designed to reduce the cost of transportation.
A look into the 14 vehicles also showed that the interior had worn-out seats, smashed windscreens, and old tyres.
Meanwhile, Mr. Olujimi, press officer, Ministry of Transport, denied that the vehicles belonged to the Ministry of Transport when reporters reached out to him for reaction, according to SaharaReporters.
The Ministry of Transport chief press secretary initially refused to answer repeated calls put across to his mobile phone to confirm the ownership, responding through a text message sent to him.
Olujimi said, “They are not, to my knowledge. Thanks for asking, he told SaharaReporters.
The 33-passenger capacity vehicles were among the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered buses, which is part of the fulfilment of an agreement resulting from the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the government with the organized labour on October 15, 2023.
The government had said that the CNG-powered mass transit buses would help Nigerians save two-thirds of transportation costs and also promote the use of CNG as an alternative to petrol. This, in turn, will cut down on the cost of transportation across the country.
But many Nigerians have expressed concerns over the safety of the refurbished vehicles instead of new buses, considering the deplorable condition of the roads in the country.
They faulted the Tinubu-led government for putting their lives in danger by purchasing “used” mass transit buses, thereby reneging on the agreement with the labour
Recall that the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) announced in September that they would begin an indefinite strike on October 3, in response to the hardship caused by the removal of the fuel subsidy.
The nationwide strike that was set to begin on October 3 was, however, halted on October 2 by the two labour unions and a coalition of other union leaders.
In the agreement, the government accepted to vote N100 billion for the provision of high-capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria.
The government said provisions are also being made for initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kick-start an auto gas conversion programme, while work is ongoing on state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide.
The roll out aims to commence by soon, with drivers across 10 campuses nationwide.
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