Transporters in Edo State under the aegis of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) have commended the Edo State Government for suspending revenue collection for the month of April, as part of efforts to cushion the economic effects and ease compliance with guidelines stipulated to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A cross-section of transporters who spoke to journalists in Benin City said the move will ensure drivers comply with government’s guidelines on seating arrangements for passengers without a subsequent increase in fares.
According to the new guideline by the state government, the seating guidelines for transporters are now that cars must carry one passenger in front and two at the back, while buses carry one passenger in front and two in each row.
Commending the decision, a public transport driver, Osadolor Emmanuel pledged the drivers’ support to the state government’s efforts at curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
“The suspension of revenue collection from transporters is a testament that Edo people are blessed with a governor who has the interest of the people at heart. This will not only ensure that drivers comply with the new seating guideline but also certify that there is no increase in transport costs. It is good news for all Edo residents.
“We commend the Edo State Government for this laudable decision to help cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on residents. On our part, we will continue to support the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration as it steps up measures to ensure the health and safety of the people.”
On his part, another public transport driver, Asemota Omo, noted: “This is an applaudable move by a concerned and people-oriented government. It is also a call to all citizens to support the state government as it fights to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The government cannot do it alone. As citizens, apart from complying with the guidelines, we must ensure that we adhere and practice the basic precautionary measures against the infectious disease.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of RTEAN, Edo State Chapter, Comr. Sunday Erhabon has urged members to comply with the government seating arrangement in the interest of all residents.
He, however, sued for safety consciousness among drivers, emphasising the need to maintain social distancing to prevent further spread of the virus in the state.