Covid-19: Motorists demand for incentive to enforce social distancing order

Some motorists in Benin have demanded for incentive from Edo government to enable them to enforce the social distancing order placed by Gov. Godwin Obaseki.
In separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Benin the motorists said they could not alone bear the cost of carrying fewer passengers as ordered by the government as occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic.
A respondent, Abu Yinusa, who plies Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi route, said he would rather not work than carry out the government’s directive as government could not just issue directive without consultation with them.
“They sat in their office and dished out instruction that we should not carry passengers as we used to because of the threat of the Coronavirus disease.
“We agreed that there is need for us to protect ourselves and the passengers, but government needs to help us for us to help ourselves and others as well.
“If you are saying carry seven passengers instead of 15, who now bears the other cost of the empty seats?
“We are not getting any fuel free from the government nor is the price of fuel being subsidised in the face of the directive,” he said.
Another motorist who plies the same route and simply identified himself as Ebo described the directive as a “tall order” that would not work.
“Government has never deemed it fit to assist us in whatever way before now; here they are telling us what to do because of the crisis at hand.
“Perhaps, it is time for them to suspend the revenue they collect from us.
“They can also order the police who daily collect money from us from no fewer than 10 road blocks on the Auchi route to stop for the time being,” he said.
Similarly, Arewa Dan, believed that threat of sanction for defaulters would not help but, rather, suggested that government should provide incentives as agreed by his colleagues.
NAN reports that the situation as observed in the Auchi Park, applied to almost all other intra-city as well as inter-state routes visited.
It would be recalled that the governor, in a bid to protect the people and stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus, placed an order for social distancing of not more than 50 persons in a gathering.
The government reduced the number further to 20 persons barely one day after the initial pronouncement and ordered the closure of markets across the state with the exception of those selling food stuff and medicine.
However, three days after the directive was issued, motorists in the capital city, especially those plying intra-city routes, still carry the usual 15 passengers per bus. (NAN)

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