It was a drama of sort during the week in the Students Union over the issue of what should and should not be the transport fare for shuttles within the Nsukka Campus of the University of Nigeria. Call it Nollywood, then you might as well be right.
On Thursday, 20th of April, 2017, a post went viral purportedly from the office of the Director of Transport, SUG, informing the students of the hike in the amount for the school’s shuttle fare from the Union approved #50 to #70.
This according to the statement released by the DOT was necessary in consideration of the fact that the shuttle drivers are now taking a new route different from the University road which was blocked from use due to the ongoing construction work on the road.
While the students were still trying to take in the impacts of the hike and also the statement from the DOT endorsing the hike, another statement was released by the President himself calling on the student community to ignore the statement from the DOT as according to him, it does not in any way represent the position of the union on the matter.
The statement which he made through his personal Whatsapp number and made available to UNN INFOdirect reads:
My attention has been drawn to a broadcast on social media made by the Director of Transport claiming that the union has given a go ahead nod in support of the hike in shuttle fare imposed by the drivers.
I wish to debunk this information and classify it false as it is in no way, a representation of the union’s collective decision on the issue.
It is embarrassing and a flagrant abuse to safe practice, to carry more than four persons per shuttle, a menace we are working tirelessly to curb. To further slap us in the faces, by increasing the charge in the name of a change in their routes is a dehumanizing act, an aggravated assault, borne out of sheer greed and extortionate mindsets.
*The approved fare still remains N50 and this union is no way, planning to change that except if the change implies a reduction.* As a matter of fact, we are and would continue to make moves to ensure that the number of passengers is reduced to 4.
No one and I repeat, no one should pay beyond N50 as shuttle fare. This is the unanimous decision of the union, one that we will enforce with all the energy we can muster, within the ambit of decent conduct and the law.
Freedom cometh by struggle.
Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta.
Comr. Ezeja Joshua
President/GCLR, SUG, UNN
This statement from the President was received with joy by the Students as many praised the President for his promptness in responding to the matter. Many other students went further to query the rationale behind the Director of Transport’s statement, saying it was an unreasonable and unjust decision to have been taken as the hike was not necessary as the distance of the temporary route being taken by the shuttle drivers is to an extent not greater than the normal route and as such does not necessitate a hike in the fares.
The UNN INFOdirect team went round the school to ascertain the views of the students on the development, a student, Ugwu Chukwuebuka of the Department of Political Science responding said he does not see any need why shuttle fare should be increased in the first place, “because the road block is only temporary and was not caused by the students. So, why make the students bear the brunt of it all?” he queried.
In the same vein, another student, Elijah John Michael said, to him the statement from the Director of Transport only means one thing “the abuse of the office which he occupies”. He however praised the President on what he perceived as his doggedness and display of true unionism, calling on him to exercise more control over the other members of the Executive to forestall any similar occurrence in the future.
As at the time of writing this report, it was observed that many drivers have already reverted to the usual fare of #50, howbeit, with grudge, while few others are still insistent on the #70.
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