By Peter Egwuatu
As part of the social security packages initiative introduced by president Muhammadu Buhari to alleviate poverty and create employment, the Lagos State Government , Institute of Road Transport Workers, IRTW, Sterling Bank Plc , Micro-Bus Owners Association of Nigeria, MOOAN and others, have partnered to unveil Micro-Bus Empowerment Scheme in Lagos.
The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented by the Commissioner of Transport, Lagos State, Hon. Ladi Lawanson at the unveiling weekend said:
“This scheme that specially targets road transport operators in Nigeria would not have attracted the confidence of the citizenry as hereby witnessed today. The bitter truth is that prior to 2015, social security packages were unfortunately a set of conduit pipes for corruption.”
He further said ” Going by the open testimonies of Nigerians regarding the social safety programmes of the current All Progressive Government, the blind can indeed see,the deaf can hear and the nit-wit can understand that the Trader -Moni, N-Power and all other socio economic empowerment keys of the All Progressive Congress, APC Government are never business as usual.”
He noted that the bus would not ply the cities but designated places to bring the people from their houses to
place where they will enter BRT buses.
He stressed that on the whole , that such an initiative that expressly complements the culture of the APC Government at all the three levels is not only delighting to the Federal Government as well as state and local administration in Nigeria under the Angel of change , the APC .
” At the state level, Lagos State being the pilot center of this delighting symptom of change has just been confirmed for the umpteenth time, as the true Centre of Excellence. The Lagos Bus Reform project which was recently commissioned by president Buhari, is enough as a gigantic signpost of the reality of change in Nigeria.
” At the state level, Lagos State Government with its Ministries and agencies like Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Housing , Office for Transportation , Creativity and Innovation, Vehicle Inspection Service , Lagos State Drivers’ Institute, Lagos Building Investment Company Limited and others have combined to bring the best in us.
“At the private level, the Sterling Bank Plc , Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Clearline Limited, Airtel and many other private sector players have been partners in progress on this purpose driven project.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, IRTW , Alhaji, Rahman Adeyemi at the unveiling of the scheme at Alausa, Ikeja, yesterday, said: ” The formal unveiling of the bus brand of the Micro- Bus Empowerment Scheme that has brought us here today is in deed a development that represents a new thinking in our national psychology. Even the idea of an Institute purposely established as a specialised training platform for road transport operators in Nigeria is in itself unique, aside from the innovativeness of the package of multiple training incentives which we are gathered to unveil and celebrate.”
In his own remarks, Project Technical Director, IRTW, Rasheed Olokode said : ” The seemingly intractable challenges associated with the road transport sub sector start and end with human factor
. Our social system that has no provision for social dropouts has, for a long time corrupted an originally respectable profession, the road transport profession. We have therefore turned this business into a dumping ground for our social ( human ) wastes. It is needless to hereby restate the fact that social dropouts are not avoidable in any human society. It is against this background that the Institute jointly kick start a process of destiny by redefining the Nigerian road transporters as well as remoulding our perception and attitude towards the practitioners of trade which the bulk of our socio economic and political activities are dependent on .
He commended Lagos State Government and its agencies, Sterling Bank, Ministry. of Transport and others for making the project a reality.