By Stanley Nwanosike
Concerned groups have decried the high rise in transport fares for travelers returning home to the South-East and South-South regions to celebrate the Christmas and New Year festivities.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who checked at some popular bus parks in Enugu on Sunday, observed that a trip from Lagos or Abuja to Enugu cost between N8,000 and N10,000 for Toyota Hummer Buses.
In Luxury (long) Buses from Lagos, Abuja to Enugu, it currently cost between N7,000 and N8,000.
People returning from Kano to Enugu in Luxury Buses pay between N12,800 and N13,500 currently.
Another corespondent who checked some of the parks in Abuja reports that one particular transportation company charges as much as N18,000 to Anambra state and N15,000 to Enugu state.
However, earlier before yuletide, returning to the South-East from any location in Lagos and Abuja was between N4,000 and N5,000; while returning from Kano in Luxury Buses to the South-East was between N7,000 and N8,000.
Reacting, a pan-Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), urged the Federal Government through the Ministry of Transports, to cushion the hardship on Nigerians this season by regulating the amount charged as fares by transporters nationwide.
The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, noted that the group was bitter against transport owners who had increased their fares by 100 per cent.
“We are calling on government both at the federal and state levels to checkmate the excesses of transport companies who castrate people financially during festive periods,’’ Chukwudum said.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) also appealed to National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) to caution their members against arbitrary increase in transport fares.
NANS’ National Public Relations Officer, Mr Bestman Okereafor, said that the national leaderships of NURTW and RTEAN as a matter of urgency, should review the high cost by their members across the federation.
“We see no reason why transportation fares should be inflated when there is no fuel scarcity at all in the country,’’ Okereafor said.