.Seek improved security on highways
Worried over the increasing attacks by robbers on highways across the country, long distance luxury bus operators have advised passengers to avoid boarding vehicles with huge cash to avert criminal attacks.
The operators, who spoke through managers of some leading luxury bus transport firms in Onitsha, urged passengers to take advantage of electronic money transferring mediums and keep only cash meant for travel expenses.
As stated by them, travelers should embrace the use of drafts and various e-banking innovations, including automated teller machine (ATM), point of sale (POS) and other internet-enabled platforms instead carrying cash.
Spokesperson of the managers’ forum, Tony Ogbonna, stated.enlightenment campaign became necessary due to the frequent cases of armed robbery involving luxury buses, particularly at night, which result in human and material losses to both the passengers and the transporters.
“This is not restricted to any particular route. Our buses plying Abuja-Lagos or going to the east from Abuja; those playing Lagos-Shagamu-Ore-Benin-Onitsha-Port Harcourt; and those on Aba-Onitsha-Lagos route, are all targeted by the robbers who are usually merciless in their attacks”, Ogbonna stated.
Last year, the umbrella union of long distance bus transporters, Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON) counselled the public on the need to always travel cashless, enjoining them to avail themselves of new methods in modern banking in their transactions to avoid being easy preys to the robbers.
The association had lamented that regardless of its preventive measures, particularly to discourage passengers from boarding with excess cash, criminals had continued to lay siege on members’ vehicles assuming that passengers, particularly traders, were still in the habit of travelling with a lot of money in their possession.
“So, it will be foolhardy and an exercise in futility for any robber to attack any luxury bus nationwide with the sole aim of getting large sums of money from the passengers in such a bus”.
However, at the Otto, Lagos terminal of one of the popular transport firms, the manager lamented that despite all the efforts to make the buses and their passengers less attractive to the robbers, the incident has continued up till. He stated.the various transport firms were worried that robbery attacks had increased.
He, therefore, recommended increased security on the highways to arrest the situation.Echoing this call, Ogbonna said: “Effective patrol of the highways, both day and night, is one sure way of at least curbing the menace of the robbers.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to come to the rescue of the transporters and travellers by specially equipping and deploying patrol teams to the nation’s highways for day and night anti-crime operations.
“Many of the passengers get to their destinations early in the morning, transact their businesses, and enter night buses again back to base, thereby saving a lot of time,” he stated.