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Rivers Governor Launches Free Buses to Cushion Subsidy Effect

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has flagged off 17 luxurious buses for the free transport schemeaimed at reducing the financial burden on Rivers State residents occasioned by petrol subsidy removal.

Transport fares have increased in the state and across Nigeria since President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of petrol subsidies during his inaugural speech on 29 May.

A liter of petrol now sells for N511 to N520 in the state, from the N179 price before the inauguration of a new president.

During the flag-off of the bus scheme on Wednesday, the Rivers State Commissioner for Transport, Jacobson Nbina dismissed the thinking that it is meant for civil servants only.

Dr. Nbina said the scheme is for all residents of the state.

“The 17 luxurious buses flagged off are for the benefit of Rivers people. This scheme is not for workers alone, it is for the entire state, including non-government workers,’’ he announced.

“This project shows that Governor Fubara means well for Rivers people. That is why he has marked his words with action. We are thanking His Excellency for making this day a reality.”

Governor Fubara was represented by the Deputy Governor, Ngozi Ordu, who said the scheme is part of his administration’s plan to mitigate the effect of the subsidy removal on residents.

“The Rivers State government is aware of the economic challenges faced by the populace as a result of the fuel subsidy removal,’’ said Professor Ordu.

“This bus palliative is a deliberate effort by the state government to assist the residents in times as these, therefore, we must treasure it. The governor has also charged the operators to be committed in the dispatch of their duties,’’ she added.

A former Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, Ibim Semenitari, said she believes the government will put modalities in place to maintain the buses.

“This is a welcome development acceptable by all, as workers can now get to their workplaces without much cost before this time, workers spent almost all their earnings on transportation and are left with nothing,’’ she said.

Some civil servants commended the thoughtfulness in coming up with the scheme but said they expect more from Governor Fubara.

“I appreciate what they have done but the current administration needs to diversify its project plans and provide us with newer projects so that we can experience a better Rivers State,’’ a middle-aged male civil servant said.

Another civil servant opined that the people should be made to pay a small fee to use the buses.

“This would help in the maintenance of these buses,” he said.

Other Rivers State residents are happy with the public transport system aimed at cushioning the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.

The buses will ply Aggrey to Slaughter, Mile 3 to Borokiri, Education to Rumuokoro, Secretariat to Borokiri, Mile One flyover to Oyigbo, Mile One, Ada George to Location Junction, and Eleme Junction to East/ West Road.


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