FILE PHOTO: Ekiti government appeals to transporters to reduce fares.

Ekiti State government is poised to reverse astronomical increases in transportation fares, Akin Oyebode, Spokesman for Gov. Kayode Fayemi, said in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti on Monday.

Oyebode said toward the realisation of the reversal, a government delegation, led by Biodun Omoleye, Chief of Staff to the governor, met with transportation unions on Sunday in Ado-Ekiti.

At the meeting were leaders and representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), and Pick-up and Lorry Association of Nigeria.

Others represented were those of Okada Riders Association, Tricycle Riders Association, and the National Association of Cooperative Transport and Tipper Drivers Association.

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The governor’s spokesman said in the statement that the government was convinced that the astronomical increases in fares resulted in unbearable increases in the costs of goods and services being experienced in the state.

He said the government was astonished that transportation fare for a 45-kilometre journey outside the state, which used to be N500, suddenly went to as high as N1,400 and asked transportation unions to scale the fares downward in the interest of the masses.

“We hope that in the next five days, this high cost would be reversed for the good of all, Oyebode said in the statement.

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He said that at Sunday’s meeting, Chairman of RTEAN, Rotimi Olanbiwonninu, said the hike in the price of petrol, costly vehicle spare parts and the COVID-19 safety protocols, which demanded that transporters operated below capacity, combined to cause increased fares.

He lamented that proceeds from trips embarked upon by transporters who were compelled to reduce the number of passengers barely covered the cost of buying fuel.

Also at the meeting were the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Hakeem Jamiu, the Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation, Mr Akin Omole and the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief Muyiwa Olumilua.

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In attendance were Ado Local Government Chairman, Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Community Engagement and Enlightenment, Mrs Tosin Ajisafe-Aluko.