Akin Akande, Abuja
Thousands of commuters in the Nyanya, Mararaba, Kubwa, Airport road axis of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja were yesterday stranded at various bus stops while many of them were forced to trek long distance to their respective destinations due to the introduction of a new transport policy by the FCT administration which bans operation of mini-buses in those areas.
The FCT administration had announced last year that under its new transport policy, only high capacity buses would be allowed to ply certain routes in the city, a development that has pitched the administration against the mini-bus drivers who have vowed to resist the law.
On Tuesday morning, there were heavily armed men of the Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Army, Directorate of Vehicle Inspection, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps on the popular Mararaba, Nyanya road to enforce the new policy while members of the Mini-bus Drivers Association staged a peaceful protest on the road where they set up burn fire and forced passengers out of mini-buses operating as well as blocking all the high capacity buses from entering the city center.
It took the quick intervention of the security agencies to disperse the angry drivers who insisted that none of their members would operate on the road until the policy was rescinded.
A commuter who spoke to our correspondent lamented the FCT administration’s policy which according to her was coming at a wrong time adding that the administration was only inviting chaos with its new policy.
Another one who pleaded anonymity said that the FCT Minister should as a matter of public interest; withdraw the policy as it has thrown many residents into hardship.
Reports from areas such as Airport road and Kubwa expressed roads also revealed that several commuters were forced to trek long distance to their destinations on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, as criticisms continue to trail the policy the Chairperson of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, (FCT) chapter, Comrade Aliyu Abdulhakeem, has said the decision was hasty and ill informed.
He described the action as a ploy by the political class to inflict more sufferings on workers, particularly those residing in Abuja, noting that government ought to take into consideration the end users of the buses before banning them out rightly.
Abdulhakeem gave his opinion when he spoke to journalists at the union’s delegates conference holding in Abuja, where he also warned that the repercussion might be too costly for government when they (masses) revolt.