The January 14 deadline given to mini-bus operators to operate only in designated routes within the city centre is expected to come into effect today. However, the ‘Association of Owners and Drivers of Mini-Buses’ in Abuja have appealed to the FCT Administration to rescind its decision.
Addressing journalists in Abuja at the weekend, National Secretary of the association, Mr. Charles Ikwuegbu, said the ban will push their already overstretched members into the labour market and create additional hardship for Abuja residents.
"It is highly regrettable that the proponents of the new policy never pondered on the hardship, suffering and inconveniences this policy would unleash on bus operators and the masses of the federal capital city.
"We are hopeful that the FCT minister’s timely intervention by a review of the policy will save both the FCT and the nation from very big anticipated losses that will be encountered by the execution of this lawless policy.
"As law-abiding citizens, we are willing to continue our operation in good faith within the existing transportation policy of the FCT Administration."
Secretary, FCT Transport Secretariat, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke, had late last year informed the public that henceforth, mini-buses will only operate on specified feeder routes within the FCT. The feeder routes to be operated by such buses include Mombassa-Michael Okpara-Olusegun Obasanjo-MKO Abiola-Area One; Area One-Gudu-Apo Mechanic Village; Area One-Cement Market-Apo Mechanical Village and Jabi-Mbora-Kaura-Gudu Market.
Other routes include Jabi-Mbora-Sun City-Apo Mechanic Village; Jabi-Mbora-Lugbe, Gwarinpa-Life Camp entrance-First Gate, Bwari Town-Dutse Alhaji-Expressway (ONEX), Kubwa Second Gate -First Gate, and Mpape-Murtala Muhammed Expressway junction.
Engr. Ivoke said the mini-buses would not be allowed to operate in high capacity bus routes which include Wuse Market-Nyanya, Jabi, Gudu Market-Federal Secretariat, among others.
The association however called for a review of the policy and denied claims by the FCT Transportation Secretariat that it had released N1 billion subsidy meant to cushion the effect of the planned ban.