The Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, to remember bus conductors and drivers in the economic stimulus packages for the poor and vulnerable during the lockdown.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sanwo-Olu had recently unveiled an economic stimulus package for the indigent and the most vulnerable in the state, following government’s order that residents should stay at home.
NAN also reports that the stimulus, which comes in food packs to be distributed to every local government and local council development area in the state, is aimed at cushioning the effect of the 14 days stay-at-home directive which started on March 30.
Alhaji Abdulrahman Amusan, the Lagos State Secretary of RTEAN, who made the appeal in an interview with NAN on Wednesday, said that majority of the bus conductors and drivers were part of the worst hit by the lockdown.
Amusan, who doubles as the National Publicity Secretary of the union, advised the state government to capture members of the transport union in its food intervention programme as palliatives.
He said that a lot of daily income earners like bus conductors and commercial drivers, had been ‘badly’ affected by the lockdown, saying that many of them were already finding it difficult to survive.
“We give kudos to the government, especially in Lagos. The governor is doing remarkably well. We wish him more grace.
“However, we have not received any palliative from the government, not even a dime for our members.
“Our members are complaining but we are still very hopeful that maybe at the second or third batch of the governor’s stimulus packages, the government will remember us,” the RTEAN scribe said.
According to him, commercial bus drivers and conductors in the state had been out of work since March 30, when the restriction order was issued.
“This must have affected their wives and children also. We appreciate most sincerely and particularly what Gov. Sanwo-Olu is doing in fighting Coronavirus pandemic and giving people welfare packages.
“Sanwo-Olu has been doing well but a lot can still be done in the area of welfare packages, especially for a lot of daily income earners such as our members.
“We are still hopeful to receive a call from the state government to help these bus conductors and drivers in order to make the lockdown more effective and without hunger,” Amusan added.
He urged members to desist from any activity that could spread the deadly virus that had killed over 80, 000 people globally.
According to him, the lockdown order is in the interest and safety of all.
He urged members to maintain social distancing, wash and sanitise their hands regularly and increase their personal hygiene.
Amusan said that the death tolls of COVID-19 in Italy, U.S. and other first world countries, were indications that Coronavirus was not a joke.
“If over 700 people can die in New York in a day where they have better healthcare system and a well organised society, so you can just imagine, this is real,” he said.
He said that the leadership of the union had been encouraging members to obey the lockdown order to contain the further spread of the virus.
NAN reports that as at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country rose to 254, with 44 discharged and six deaths.
In the global count, the novel Coronavirus has infected more than 1.43 million people and killed over 82,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University as at early hours of Wednesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a Presidential broadcast on the pandemic on March 29, gave a restricting order on movements in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 p.m. on March 30. (NAN)