By Lucy Ogalue
Abuja – Motorists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have urged the Federal Government to look into the poor state of roads within the country, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports in Abuja.
The motorists in separate interviews told NAN on Monday that poor state of roads was the major reason for the increase in the cost of transportation to some parts of the country during the festivities.
According to them, there is an increase in the number of travelers and cars plying the roads during the festive period which leads to heavy traffic.
They added that when they have to spend more time on the road, more fuel is consumed which leads to the increase in transport fare.
Mr Mokaila Abdulaziz, a driver at the Jabi Park said he has been on the highway as a driver since 1976 and currently takes passengers to Ilorin.
“The roads are too bad in this our country especially in the south. From Ogbaja to Ilorin the roads are so bad. I urge the government to try and fix the roads for us because it has become so bad.
“The roads have become so bad that it spoils our vehicles and even the passengers do not enjoy their ride,” he said.
Mr Yusuf Ibrahim, a driver conveying passengers to Zamfara from Utako Park, said the cost of transportation was N3,000 and had not changed in spite of the season.
He added that the cost of transportation to other Northern parts of the country has also remained the same.
Mr Isaac Abu, another driver at the Utako Park, said there is no plan of increasing cost of transportation since there was availability of fuel in the country.
Abu, however, decried low number of passengers during this period compared to the last Christmas celebration when there was high influx of passengers.
He said: “the passengers are not as many as they used to be during this period because Nigerians are crying that they do not have money to travel. I pray God intervenes for us in this country so that we can all have means to feed our families.”
Passengers travelling to Ida and Asaba, however, decried increased cost of transportation fare to their destinations.
Mr Philip Asogwa, a passenger, said he was travelling to Ida with his wife and two children and had to pay N4,000 per person for his family as against the fare that used to be around N2,500 per person.
Asogwa said: “There is no money in the country; some of us who are even travelling are doing so because we want to spend time at home with our loved ones.
“It is very unfair for the cost of transportation to be inflated this much. Even though there is availability of fuel, the drivers blame the poor state of roads.
“I pray the government does something about the roads fast and save us from this exploitation.”
Meanwhile, Alhaji Adamu Madalla, Branch 1 Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Jabi Park, said the union was doing everything possible to ensure safety of passengers during the period.
According to Madalla, the union has also ensured stable cost of transportation during the festive period.
“We have high influx of passengers and we are very happy about it. We have met with our members and have advised them to abstain from all forms of Alcohol and drug while driving.
“We make sure that every driver who comes in from a journey rest well and check his vehicle to ensure it is in order before embarking on another trip. We have laws that every member must abide with and anyone who goes against it, is penalized.
“We have not increased cost of transport in this park because there is no scarcity of fuel and we thank the government for this. Our problem however is the roads. We are appealing to the Federal Government to help us and repair the roads,” Madalla said.