In April 2022, the lawmaker representing Owerri Federal Constituency, Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya raised an alarm over the alleged missing of ten thousand (10,000) transit buses provided by the Federal Government for Transport Services within the FCT.
Speaking during plenary, Elezieanya averred that the provision of long buses in Abuja, apart from creating jobs and generating revenue, was targeted at alleviating the sufferings of the citizens as it was designed to ease the commuting challenges of civil and public servants to and from their offices to ensure effective discharge of their duties.
According to him, between 2003 to 2007, 5,000 buses were provided by the Government to assist and complement the efforts of government workers in accessing their various offices within the Territory.
The lawmaker said, “Between 2010 to 2014, the Federal Government, in a bid to effectively improve public service delivery in line with global best practices, provided an additional 5,000 buses for the transportation of civil servants.
“All the buses, amounting to 10,000 provided by the government are gradually disappearing from the roads and are not being effectively managed by the FCT administration and as such, not achieving its core objective, which is alleviating the transport challenges of the masses, especially in these trying times”.
While stressing the need to recover the buses and make them operational to serve the core objectives for which they were provided, Elezieanya expressed concern that the citizens who are denied these services are daily faced with the risk of riding in commercial vehicles operated by kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits.
Following the revelation by Elezieanya, the House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to investigate and recover the alleged missing 10,000 transit buses provided by the Federal Government for Transport Services within the FCT.
However, nearly seven months after the House constituted the committee to probe the missing buses, nothing has been heard, leaving Nigerians in the dark. This has led to permutations in the public, that like many other corruption cases, this too has been swept under the carpet.
More so, since this issue erupted, the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Musa Bello has kept mum.
Since the collapse of the territory’s mass urban transit system, moving around the FCT has become increasingly nightmarish for commuters. As the buses continue to be unavailable without an alternative means of transportation, residents of the FCT have lamented that commuters in and within the city now depend majorly on private car owners for their means of transportation.
As observed by our correspondents in some areas of the FCT, residents have to struggle and fight to displace other commuters in order to stand the chance of getting a space in the few commercially available vehicles to get to their places of business or work.
In recent surveillance at the Jikwoyi, Kurudu and Nyanya axis of the city, our correspondents watched in disbelief as commuters struggled to board vehicles to their respective locations in town. Despite the increasing hike in fares, commuters still have to be smart and apply physical strength to board a vehicle.
Some of the residents who spoke with our correspondents bemoaned the collapse of the territory’s mass urban transit system. A Jikwoyi resident who only gave his name as Kelvin did not mince words when he said: “We are suffering here. Getting a vehicle at the Phase two junction in the morning is usually a problem. The crowd is usually much. And the few available vehicle owners are even compounding our problems by increasing the fare”.
Another resident, Ifeoma said, “I really don’t know how long we will continue like this and to think that this is the Federal Capital Territory”.
One James said “How can there not be a functional transport system in a country’s capital? This is just too appalling and no one is saying anything. I don’t know what the FCT minister is doing. This is just too bad. God will help us”.
It could be recalled that sometime in 2016, the immediate past Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration led by Bala Mohammed (who is currently the Governor of Bauchi State), was alleged to have secretly sold the bulk of the 192 Marcopolo buses purchased by his predecessor, and incumbent Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai in 2005. To date, the government is yet to launch an investigation into the allegation.