The Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN), Lagos State Chapter, on Monday welcomed the state government’s directives on public transport to contain spread of COVID-19, promising strict adherence to them.
Alhaji Abdulrahman Amusan, the Secretary of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the transport union would cooperate with the government on any directive aimed at saving lives.
As the number of coronavirus cases in the state continued to swell, the state government, through the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, on Monday issued public transport guidelines to operators and passengers to avoid its spread in buses, cabs, motor parks and garages.
Oladehinde said that henceforth, it had become compulsory for all transport operators/companies to sanitise their parks and garages regularly and continuously, at least before and after each trip.
He said all transport operators/companies were expected to have at the entrance to their respective parks/garages, washing hand equipment with soap and running water.
Also, all operators are expected to have alcohol-based sanitizers in their vehicles for the use of drivers, conductors and passengers, while over crowding/over loading of their vehicles is disallowed.
Among other things, he said that passenger spacing must be fully observed, while all commercial buses should be at 60 per cent capacity and not 100 per cent capacity.
Oladeinde said that all drivers and conductors should always wear hand gloves and nose guides while in transit and all passengers are also required to sanitise themselves before and after each trip.
Reacting, Amusan, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of RTEAN, said that the union was part of the meeting where the directives were concluded to stem the tide of the pandemic in the state.
“We were in the meeting together with the government, we are ready to cooperate with the government on anything that can put a stop to the spread of the virus.
“So, our organisation is in support and will partner with the government to stop the spread through the public transport,” he said.
The secretary urged members across the state to comply and shun overloading.
According to him, the National Chairman of the association, Alhaji Mohammed Musa, had earlier given directives to all state, zonal and unit chapters of the union to take preventive measures to contain the spread.
He said that Musa directed members to step up their personal and vehicle hygiene, increase sensitisation and providing sanitisers across motor parks.
On the union’s pattern of dues collection at bus stops, Amusan said that the Musa-led national executive council of RTEAN was working hard to refine and reform it.
According to him, the union president, at the last meeting, had given instruction that the association needs to look different and stepped up education of members on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, says the government has been doing a lot in terms of engagement, monitoring and regulating the activities of transport unions.
Hamzat told NAN that recently, while plying Lagos-Badagry Expressway and noticing disregard of traffic rules, he contacted the state union chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers to monitor members’ activities.
“We saw buses taking one-way, we stopped and one of the things that I spoke to the chairman of the union is this: you have a chairman that is controlling that place, if this continues, that chairman should be removed.
“If you can’t manage your area and then we have one-way (drivers) all over the place, then take him (such chairman) away.
“You give him (such chairman) that responsibility. Don’t just collect money from them, monitor their activities,” he added.
The deputy governor said that the government would not relent on its oars in engaging critical stakeholders in all sectors to take the state to a greater level.