THE National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) have sought palliatives from the Federal Government as one way of easing the challenges its members face due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Acting General Secretary of the union, Mr Kabiru Yau said the union, outlined its dire intents in a letter to the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki in Abuja.
Yau noted that the transport industry is one of the most hit by the pandemic and the Federal Government lockdowns.i
According to him, since the lockdown, 95 per cent of its over two million members, comprising 5,000 women, drivers and conductors, had been out of work.
He restated the commitment of NURTW to curtail the spread of the virus, adding that at the moment, hunger is the dilemma faced by its members.
The statement noted: “We wish to apply for your kind consideration in facilitating the provision of palliatives from the Federal Government to nmembers of the union with regards to the difficult situation we are facing due to the pandemic.
“The Transport industry, which plays major role in the World economy to enable goods and commuters to be moved from one place to another has suffered since the emergence of the virus and subsequent lockdown.
“It is therefore our proposal that this industry be empowered to alleviate the negative effects generated by COVID-19 and the need for Federal Government’s intervention cannot be over emphasised.
“As informal workers, most of our members live from hand to mouth because majority of us rely on daily income in order to provide our basic needs and that of our families.
“Since the advent of the virus, we have been forced into extreme poverty brought about by the lockdown and suspension of interstate travel imposed by government.
“Palliatives such as food, medicine, face masks, hand sanitisers and especially cash will ameliorate the effects of the present economic meltdown ravaging the World and cushion its effect among our members.”
Yau further solicited the provision of vehicles, such as buses, to the union as part of palliative measures aimed at cushioning the effect of the virus.
He said such allocation would boost public transport and accessibility to safe and secure road transportation during the period.
“This will also enable the union to significantly work down its funding cost, thereby improving our operating efficiency and huge potentials that have been largely hampered by inadequate and expensive funding channels,” he said.
The acting secretary pledged the loyalty of the NURTW to the government, and reiterated the union’s need for any assistance the government could render under the circumstances.