By Lucy Ogalue
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) have solicited Federal Government’s support in the form of palliatives to ameliorate challenges faced by its members due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mr Kabiru Yau, Acting General Secretary of the union, in a statement on Tuesday, said this was contained in a letter to the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki in Abuja.
According to Yau, the transport industry is one of the most hit since the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown by the Federal Government.
He said since the lockdown, 95 per cent of its over two million members comprising of drivers and conductors and out of which five thousand were women, had been out of work.
Yau reiterated NURTW’s commitment to curtail spread of the dreaded virus, adding that the dilemma faced by its members at the moment was that of hunger.
“We wish to apply for your kind consideration in facilitating the provision of palliatives from the Federal Government to members of the union with regards to the difficult situation we are facing due to the pandemic.
“The Transport Industry which plays major role in the World economy to enable goods and commuters to be moved from one place to another has suffered since the emergence of the virus and subsequent lockdown.
“It is therefore our proposal that this industry be empowered to alleviate the negative effects generated by COVID-19 and the need for Federal Government’s intervention cannot be over emphasised.
“As informal workers, most of our members live from hand to mouth because majority of us rely on daily income in order to provide our basic needs and that of our families.
“Since the advent of the virus, we have been forced into extreme poverty brought about by the lockdown and suspension of interstate travel imposed by government.
“Palliatives such as food, medicine, face masks, hand sanitisers and especially cash will ameliorate the effects of the present economic meltdown ravaging the World and cushion its effect among our members,’’ Yau said.
Yau also solicited the provision of vehicles, such as buses, to the union as part of palliative measures aimed at cushioning the effect of the virus.
He said such allocation would go a long way towards boosting public transport and accessibility to safe and secure road transportation during the period.
He said: “This will also enable the union to significantly work down its funding cost, thereby improving our operating efficiency and huge potentials that have been largely hampered by inadequate and expensive funding channels.”
While pledging its loyalty to the government and the present administration, Yau reiterated NURTW’s need for whatever assistant the government could render the union under the circumstances. (NAN)