Two months after the inauguration of the intra-city transport vehicles popularly called “Iyaye Mata,” by the government of Ahmed Aliyu, Sokoto State residents have continued to query the reasons why the government has refused to allocate the vehicles for public use.
Some of the residents who spoke with queried the essence of the launch of the vehicles when the government isn’t ready to distribute them for the use of the masses in spite of the harsh realities of the fuel subsidy removal.
Further querying the whereabouts of the vehicles, some of the residents who spoke with our correspondent described the delay in the distribution of the vehicles despite the fanfare that accompanied their launch as “wicked, callous and insensitive.”
Kabiru Aliyu, a former special adviser to Aminu Tambuwal, the immediate past Governor of the state, while speaking about the vehicles, urged the state government to come out clean and explain the real situation of things in that regard to the public.
According to Aliyu, “The state government should be bold enough to tell citizens why the vehicles have not been distributed for use.”
Aliyu, who is also a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, however, disclosed that their investigations reveal that the vehicles cannot be put to use until the state’s financial obligations on the vehicles have been fully met and fulfilled in accordance with the agreement of the Sokoto State government and the dealer.
He stated, “I think the government should pay the company that supplied those vehicles so that the people of the state will also feel relieved since the recent removal of subsidy which has jerked up transport fares.
“I believe the state government should understand that people of the state, especially the masses, are suffering and need to be cared for. Imagine the situation now that most farmers can not bring their farm produce to the market to sell due to the high cost of transportation.
“The government should find a way to return inter-local government vehicles in the state which will help our farmers and workers to get to their work and business places in good time,” Aliyu stressed.
He pointed out further that the current administration in the state is lucky to have more funds disbursed to it by the Federal Government from the federal allocation accrued to the state which has now doubled following the subsidy removal when compared to what was due to the state during the last administration.
The politician insisted, “I don’t believe the state can not pay for those vehicles despite the fact that the allocation of the state has now doubled compared to what it was given before now and this is due to the increase in the money generated as a result of subsidy removal.
“The removal of fuel subsidy has increased the allocation of both the federal and state governments. Therefore, what one is seeing out there can not translate to the money received since the beginning of this administration,” Aliyu noted.
When contacted to know why the vehicles have not been put to use yet, the state Commissioner for Information, Bello Sambo Danchadi, said the state government is working on “some things” and modalities to be used in distributing the vehicles.
Danchadi stated, “All I can say now is that there are some things being working on before the vehicles will be put into use, and I believe very soon everything will be in order”.
Arewa PUNCH recalls that the state government, through the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Sheikh Dr Jabir Maihulla, during the celebration of the 100 days in office of the current administration had stated that the government would purchase vehicles for transportation.
According to the commissioner, “In other to make transportation easier for people of the state as a result of subsidy removal, the state executive council has approved the purchase of 50 pieces of 18 seater Toyota Hiace Buses, 2022 model at the cost of 2.8 Billion naira.
“It has also earmarked over N560 million for the purchase of 20 pieces of Toyota Camry cars, 2022 model, aimed at providing transportation for women in the state, and which will serve as intra-city transportation,” he had equally assured.
Also in his remarks while commissioning the vehicles, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima described the initiative of the Sokoto State government as a “welcome development aimed at improving the livelihood of the citizens of the state.”