Not less than 1,572,000 Edo citizens have been projected to benefit from the Free Bus Ride Scheme by the Edo State Government, which is part of the palliative programme to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikhare, made this known while addressing journalists at the Ministry’s Conference Room at the State Secretariat along Sapele Road, Benin City.

Nehikhare said it is projected that 1,494,000 citizens will benefit from the free intra-city bus ride while 33,000 will benefit from the free inter-city bus ride, bringing the total beneficiaries from the bus palliative to 1,527,000 over a two-month period that the scheme, which was flagged off on September 11, is expected to last.

He said from the government’s records, “we have approximately 25,000 persons using the buses daily. In two months, that would amount to about 1,500,000 persons.”

He noted that since the removal of fuel subsidy, the cost of living has gone high and life has become difficult for Nigerians.

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“The free bus ride initiated by the Obaseki-led administration has reduced the suffering of Edo people. Spending on transportation has reduced.

“This free bus ride has become popular among Edo people. It is helping them save their transport money since the service commenced on the 11th of this month.

“We are pleased by the appreciation we have received from Edo people since the programme commenced,” Nehikhare said.

The Commissioner said the State Government is still collating data of the poorest of the poor in the State to populate its social register, which is also being revalidated to ensure that no one within the designated bracket is left out of it.

He added that the distribution will be devoid of politics as it will go directly to those captured during the data collection exercise.