Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State on Monday morning launched free shuttle buses for pupils of public primary and secondary schools in the locality. Twenty six primary schools and nine secondary schools are in the area with a total number of about thirteen thousand pupils.
The 30-seater branded coaster buses, which have “Free School Bus” inscribed on it, would operate during weekday except holidays conveying pupils of public schools within the local government to and fro.
The shuttle buses would pick up pupils between 6.00am-8.00am at designated areas including Agbotikuyo Bus Stop, Pen Cinema, Capitol, and Ogba-Ashade and drop them off at the same locations between 2.30pm and 5.00pm.
At the flag-off, the executive chairman of the council, Alhaji Ganiyu Kola Egunjobi, who was behind one of the buses’ wheels from Agbotikuyo where he picked up pupils at 7.00am, drove through Dopemu, Awosoga and Iloro.
Speaking to newsmen at Diary Farm Primary School where some of his passengers alighted, the Council chief explained that the scheme is a social intervention programme aimed at ameliorating the sufferings of indigent families that are not in short supply in the area.
“It is a daily struggle for most parents and guardians in Agege to meet their responsibilities to their children and wards and as government we are disturbed and concerned.
“The council under my watch, equally recognised the strong nexus between poverty and crime and susceptibility of children to peer pressure particularly in our community where cultism is on the rise. We hope this programmes can equally help in our renewed war against the menace of the Awawa cult group. We think this way, we would be able to limit the period our pupils are in the care of nobody and vulnerable to the influence of bad kids,” he said.
Egunjobi added that the scheme would reduce incessant risks faced daily by pupils, who ride on motorcycles to schools and return homes by the same means, saying efforts are in place to make the free shuttle service has legislative backing and ensure it outlived his administration.
According to him: “As we speak, the council executive sponsored a bill tagged: “Agege Free School Bus Shuttle” which is before our legislative arm. We want to legitimise the scheme and ensure its sustainability. In the bill, we recommended that at every time there must be a minimum of five operational vehicles for the scheme. We are starting with two and hopefully before the end of this year, we will increase the fleet. ”
Speaking, Chairman, Agege Community Development Committee, Bishop Julius Olusanya, lauded the scheme and heaped praise on the Egunjobi led-administration.
“Our joy knows no bounds. We have not witnessed anything of this kind in Agege. This administration of Egunjobi is first in several areas. My prayer is that God will continue to bless the council Chairman and enrich him with knowledge and ideas to take Agege to greater heights.”
In her own remark, Stella Akpan, a pupil of Diary Farm Primary School also eulogized the scheme adding that the current council leadership has been running people centred government.
Her words: “This government has done a lot for us. About five schools were rehabilitated and new classrooms and modern toilets built. The government also gave us uniforms, desks, chairs, exercise books and school bags. We are grateful to the council and the chairman.”