In a significant move to address the challenges posed by the removal of fuel subsidies, President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu visited Maiduguri on Monday to commission Governor Babagana Umara Zulum’s transformative metro transport scheme.
The focal point of the initiative was the introduction of 107 gas and electric-powered buses and taxis, marking the second phase of the governor’s ambitious plan.
The commissioning ceremony, held near the Shehu of Borno’s Palace, was preceded by a visit from President Tinubu and Governor Zulum to pay respects to the Shehu, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin El-kanemi.
The President, who was in Maiduguri for the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference, took time from his schedule to endorse and commission the innovative vehicles.
Governor Zulum, addressing the gathering, highlighted the state’s response to the President’s directive following the fuel subsidy removal.
In a bid to provide immediate relief, Borno State invested significantly in a mass transit scheme. The conversion of the 107 vehicles to use electricity and gas is a strategic move aimed at utilizing low-cost energy sources, ensuring affordable transportation for citizens recovering from the aftermath of the prolonged Boko Haram insurgency.
The newly commissioned fleet includes 35 units of 30-seater gas-powered coaster buses, 12 units of 15-seater gas-powered Hummer buses, 10 units of 50-seater gas-powered mass transit buses, and 50 units of 4-seater electric-powered taxis.
Earlier this year, Borno State procured a total of 120 buses, with 77 launched in September, immediately impacting transportation prices in Maiduguri.
Governor Zulum’s transport scheme has significantly reduced prices, with Zulum’s buses charging N50 per route, in contrast to private transport means like Keke Napep, which charge about N150.
President Tinubu, commending Governor Zulum, referred to the initiative as “Hope Renewed.”
Expressing gratitude for the governor’s commitment to good governance, Tinubu lauded Zulum’s innovation, creativity, and concern for the people.
The President emphasized the potential for economic prosperity, pledging to leverage Zulum’s foresight to establish assembly plants at the sub-national level.