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Nigerian Students Lament as Tinubu Fails to Fulfil Promise on Free Bus Initiative

Usman Yakubu, a 400-level student of English and Literary Studies at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), was happy when he read about the federal government’s decision to provide free buses for students in Nigerian tertiary institutions in July 2023.

According to President Bola Tinubu, the decision was made to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on the students. Ten months later, the government is yet to fulfil its promise amid transport fares surge. 

“I believe if the president pushes for the actualisation of his promise, many students like me will be happy. But it seems like the president is not ready for any better reform because there is heavy silence on the promise of buses,” Usman lamented. “For example, look at the issue of subsidy removal. It makes students’ lives tense and unbearable. Still no implementation of the promise.”

Speaking with our reporter, Fatimah Idera, a final year student of Sociology at the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA), was also glued with happiness when the president approved free buses for the students on campus but felt disappointed months later. 

“We find ourselves in a country where our government only boasts with its mouth and leaves promises unfulfilled. Meanwhile, I am still wondering why the buses are yet to arrive. The failed promises don’t affect me though since I could easily afford my transportation to school without waiting for their buses, so with that, my education has not been affected.”

Also, Abdulrahman Abdullahi, a 100-level student of English and Literary Studies UDUS, said he was happy upon hearing the approval of free buses by the president. He recalled a conversation between him and a returning student on campus about the increment in the transport fare on campus, which skyrocketed from N50 to N100.

“If I am already using 150 naira as a fee for the bus from the school to the first gate, How much will it cost me to transport myself to the town if I want to refill my gas? I plead with the president to please do something about his promises because the delay of this promise can do more harm to the mental health of Nigerian students who are already going through a lot,” he said. 

Like many others Abdullahi Sanusi, who is currently studying Demography and Social Statistics at the Federal University of Birnin-Kebbi, simply said “Since we know that a lot of promises end in vain, I can’t advise my fellow Nigerian to give a significant amount of hope to the promises but rather I will advise that we should not give up on our daily struggles.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s minister of education, Tahir Mamman, did not respond to calls and text messages seeking his comments and updates on the federal government’s unfulfilled promise.

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