On a Monday morning, at Shorinmade Street opposite Excellence Hotel in Ogba, several students and pupils were spotted by The Record rushing while trying to board one of the buses from the free transport scheme established by the Ojodu LCDA chairman, Segun Odunmbaku.
According to Mr Timothy Olaniyi, a POS operator on that street, the morning rush sight isn’t unusual, as the free buses are always around in the morning and evening.
This is an interesting narrative different from the scepticism The Record observed a month ago when we visited and reported about the scheme which was initiated to help cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the people of Ojodu and its environs.
Two female students of the Oke-ira Senior Grammar school, Ogunleye Blessing and Sewunmi Esther, excitedly told The Record that they have been able to save their transport fare to spend on other things.
“We heard about the free bus from our friend,” they revealed. The students who reside in Agege axis disclosed that they started boarding the bus last week from Ogba bus stop, each time they can’t find the bus at the bus stop, they would walk down to Shorinmade Street which is one of the take-off routes to find the free buses.
Mr Nnoli David, a businessman in Ogba was surprised to hear that the free bus scheme still runs without any bus fare being paid.
“When they first started, I used to hear the driver shout ‘free bus Oke-Ira’, but they no longer do that. So, I thought they started charging the normal N100 per trip,” Nnoli David commented.
A trader who insisted on being anonymous told The Record how she caught the bus on her way to the market at about 7 am and she was still lucky to board it on her way back from the market at about 9 am that morning.
“As I am going now, I saved an extra N100, making N200. That N200 can be used to buy something,” she said.
In a press statement issued by the Ojodu Executive Chairman’s office, the free buses run from 6 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 7 pm. However, Oluwaseun Aregbesola, a Ward C driver disclosed that an afternoon shift has been included to drop off students and pupils on their way home.
The Record also visited the Ojodu LCDA secretariat on Monday, September 25 and noticed that six other buses were parked in the compound instead of being on the road.
Mr Lekan Ayeni, the director of transport in Ojodu LCDA, explained that some of the buses parked in the compound are new ones which are going to be added to the Wards where they noticed a surge.
“While the other buses are here for minor repairs,” Ayeni said to The Record.
When asked if this scheme would be extended till the end of the year, Mrs Bukola Bankole, the HOD of the Ojodu LCDA Information Unit responded with uncertainty.
“If it is going to continue till the end of the year, I don’t know yet. It was meant to be for three months to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal,” Bankole told The Record.