By Adelola Amihere
Interstate transporters may have their operational licenses withdrawn if they fail to comply with the safety protocols put in place to ensure that the spread of corona virus is curtailed, the Federal Government has warned.
In a statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki made this known recently when she chaired a virtual meeting with the Forum of Nigerian Transport Commissioners.
The announcement to lift the ban on interstate travels was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha at the PTF daily briefing on Monday.
According to the Minister, it was also agreed that all interstate transport operators are to apply and can only operate on confirmation of satisfaction of the defined guidelines by the State Ministry of Transportation.
Furthermore, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Transportation at State/FCT level will regularly monitor the implementation and compliance to the guidelines as well as the impact on ensuring safety and minimizing the transmission of COVID-19 through the mass transit sector.
The overall objective, the Minister reiterated is to protect passengers, operators and workers, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to provide support for stakeholders.
Also, she disclosed that the guidelines was fine-tuned with that of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and requests the registration of all private travel operators, parks and terminals operators to ensure restricted access, social distancing, disinfection and sanitization as well as have designated areas to isolate passengers with suspected case of COVID-19 infection.
Similarly, all passengers must be subjected to temperature checks, ‘no mask no entry’ policy must be adopted while staff must be sent for COVID-19 Conduct Training and must adorn Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while on duty.
Bus operators must observe all the safety protocols and limit their capacity to 50% while windows must be open for short trips and the face masks should be worn throughout the journey. In addition, operators are advised on public road transport capture to enable for contact tracing.