COVID-19: Nigerian luxury bus owners lose N12bn, seek intervention

* Say ‘We are dying of hunger staying at home’

* Appeal to security agencies on roads to allow buses convey commodities

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic and subsequent restrictions on especially interstate movement across in the country, the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON) has said it lost over N12 billion from the COVID-19 lockdown, closure of parks and borders since March 2020.

Chief Joseph Ejiofor, National Taskforce Chairman of ALBON and Mr. Uchenna Maduakor, Anambra State Taskforce Chairman, at a joint media briefing said that the owners were still counting losses as the lockdown and closure of borders continue in the country.

According to the association, they have been paying salaries to workers despite the fact that they have parked their buses in obedience to the Federal Government’s directive and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols on curbing COVID-19 pandemic.

The group appealed to the Federal Government through the ministry of transportation to come to their aide by loan and other palliative interventions to sustain the business after Coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ejiofor appealed to the Federal and state governments to allow their buses to transport essential commodity loads so as to sustain the bus owners within this period.

He stated that since there is border closure on passenger movement, the group appealed to the security men on the roads to allow their buses passage with only goods.

Since March 2020, he added, their buses in Nigeria and in the other African countries were in their in parks doing no business, as most of the bus owners find it difficult to pay salaries and feed their families.

“Our business is in verge of collapse if government fail to support us through invention fund and to write off our loan to remain in the business.

“We need fund to pay our banks, partners and bus suppliers who have been on our neck to pay up our loan facilities and supplies.

“We have time limit based on the agreement to complete the previous ones to get new ones,” ALBON National Taskforce Chairman.

The association assed: “You know that after aviation industry, it’s our sector that generates more revenue for the Federal Government which should not be ignored in time like this to sustain the sector.

“We need to partner with government to assist us to remain in business.

“We obeyed the directives, but we have lost over N12 billion from the closure of parks and borders.

We are appealing to law enforcement agencies to allow our buses to be transporting goods only to various places since we cannot transport human beings due to Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are dying of hunger staying at home while our busses are parked. We want to be carrying loads and any bus caught carrying passengers inside should be impounded by the security agents at the border.

“This will help us to feed our families and pay salaries. We also appeal that government on alternative should allow us to be transporting passengers by scattering them in the bus.”

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