WEEKS after their first meeting in Enugu, luxury bus owners and other road passenger transport bodies rose from an inaugural conference in Lagos with a resolution to fuse into one, all-inclusive umbrella body for all inter-state bus associations in 60 days.
The Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, ALBON, and the Association of Mass Transit Operators of Nigeria, AMTO, which held the first meeting in Enugu, were joined by Benin Transport Owners Association, BTOA, and other road transporters at the conference held at the Lagos Airport Hotel.
In furtherance of the merger goals, the forum resolved to set up an enlarged steering committee with a mandate to reach out to all inter-state road passenger transporters nationwide, to ensure that they are part of the fusion. The outcome was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the inaugural conference convened by the ALBON and AMTO Coalition with the theme Nigerian Economy and Road Passenger Transport.
The conference deliberated extensively on major common challenges facing all inter-state road passenger bus owners/operators in Nigeria, as well as the urgent and compelling need for them to come together as one, unifying and nationwide body, to develop strategies for tackling the challenges.
Signed by ALBON National President, Sir Dan Okemuo; AMTO Chairman, Chief Gregory Inyaba; and the BTOA representative, Isaac Uhunmwagho, the communiqué stated that inter-state road passenger transporters have common challenges that require concerted efforts by all concerned to tackle. It was also resolved that the coalition and the proposed new, all-embracing association should retain the services of a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics of Nigeria, CILT, as a consultant with immediate effect.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Okemuo, who is also the chairman of the coalition steering committee, identified poor road infrastructure, insecurity and rising cost of imported buses (as a result of high naira exchange rate to the dollar which does not favour the former), as some of the transporters’ major challenges, which the new association would be seeking solutions to.
He bemoaned the inability of the transporters to replenish their fleets as result of the unaffordable costs of procuring buses, which he put at over N125 million for the coaches (from the previous N85 million two years ago) and about N27 million for a Toyota Hiace (up from N14 million).
Echoing the need for a concerted approach to tackling the challenges, Managing Director of ABC Transport Plc and executive member of ALBON, Mr. Fank Nneji, stated: “We recognise that there are challenges, and that the solution is in a strong association.”
Also present at the conference were the representative of Young Shall Grow Motors, Chief Cyril Udoye; Managing Director of Ifesinachi Industries Ltd, Prince Emeka Mamah; Managing Director of Ekwos Associates, Chief Anthony Ekwosimba; and participants from Peace Mass Transit, National Express Ltd, and many other inter-state transport companies.
One of the highpoints of the conference was a presentation by the Deputy National President of CILT, Alban Igwe, which dwelt on coach and bus operation in Nigeria.