The idea of drivers and conductors of commercial passenger buses, otherwise called Danfo, wearing uniforms seems a lost passion of the Lagos State Government.
In 2012, Kayode Opeifa, then, commissioner of transportation, spoke about the plan at a sensitisation programme on the state’s Traffic Law 2012. The policy, Opeifa said, would begin January 1, 2013, and followed by a registration of commercial passenger buses in November.
Four years after, the plan appears frozen dead, syncing with the grudges of bus drivers and conductors opposed to it.
Steven Uche is one of such opponents. “It is not a wise idea”, Uche, said.
To him, the policy will feed into the tricks of one-chance robbers – a menace which many commuters have fallen victims to.
The name-one chance-underlines the disorderliness in which a commuter hops on a nearly-filled, especially during morning and evening rush hours or when the buses are scarce to get.
The robbers’ trick is to disguise as genuine drivers and conductors, while two or three accomplices sit on the bus as passengers.
In some reported cases, the robbers push their victims off a moving vehicle, which sometimes result in death.
The thought of one-chance robbers infiltrating and wearing the same uniforms as real commercial bus operators seemed a common concern.
“One chance operators have their various ways of operating and can get away with their crime, if we all wear uniforms,” Uche added.
A conductor, Bright Onwunali, who was lounging in his bus at the time this newspaper visited, couldn’t agree more with him.
Father-of-three Ifeanyi Sunday urges the state government to come up with ‘other means of stopping the bus robbers other than recommending the use of uniforms’. Another conductor, 27-year-old Nurudeen Anifowose, believes the matter is beyond wearing of uniforms. To him, bus passengers require a re-orientation as much as the commuters.
“Passengers no dey make am easy for we conductors. If you tell dem say no change before dey enter bus, dem no go answer you, if you no come see change give dem, na wahala,” he said in faltering English.
Peter Mokunye, a driver, disagreed with his colleagues.
”I like the initiative… wearing of uniforms will make passengers respect us more, and even reduce all the unnecessary assault we get from policemen and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA),” Mokunye.
- By Bola Kougbe