An Expose on Abuja’s Female Graduate Bus Conductors

High rate of unemployment in Nigeria, coupled with poorly paid jobs, has landed some graduate young girls into the Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company, as female conductors. Weekly Trust peeps into their world, revealing their inspiring tales.

Twenty-eight-year old Singana Ohiani holds a B.Sc degree in Political Science from Kogi State University. But the fair pretty lady is a bus conductor in one of Abuja’s mass transit buses, popularly called El-Rufai buses or long buses.

Weekly Trust observed that as early as 7.00 am, she was already at the Nyanya bus stop in Abuja, huddling to the side of a bus, attached to her in readiness for the day’s work.

Once it was the turn of her bus to load, Miss Ohiani began collecting money from the queued-up passengers, politely telling those without the exact N80 official transport fare to come with along with their “change” for payment.

It was further noticed that as the bus took off, she stood by the front door, as the side mirror radiated her face. At major bus stops, she reminded the passengers that wanted to drop by shouting the names of the places so that even passengers not too familiar with parts of Abuja could properly gauge their destinations.

She also liaised with supervisors, at strategic locations who oversee how they load. As passengers began to drop, she began to call out to prospective passengers: “Wuse, Berger!” she bellowed constantly. When the bus enters a bumpy area, at a time she is giving or collecting money from a passenger, she would lean on the seats or hold onto one of the iron railings inside the bus, atop the roof of the bus for support.

Furthermore, after the trip terminated at Berger Junction, the bus did a u-turn and started another one to Nyanya, Miss. Ohiani was red alert on duty and head held high up, through one of the bus windows, she kept calling with a heavy accent; “Nyanya!”

That’s how the university female graduate spends a typical day. How did she come to this end after a varsity certificate?

She replies, “I am Singana Ohiani from Kogi state. I have a B.Sc degree in Political Science from Kogi state university. I had taught in some schools before, but the pay in teaching is so small. When I got into this job, I now discovered that it is far better than the previous years during which I had taught”.

She adds, “The salary is something that at least, I can say, it is okay for a single person. Actually the work is something you

learn just like education. You know whenever you go through your books you learn the more. So, you learn people’s character. That is why they say for us human beings, we are dynamic. You learn a lot of things from people. You learn the positive aspects; and the negative aspects you throw it away”.

Asked about the character of passengers, she said, “Yea, some do abuse or insult, but sometimes, you meet some good passengers that advocate for you. When you are right, there are passengers that will advocate for you. Sometimes, on the issue of change, I tell people beforehand that they should enter with their change. So by the time you come in with a thousand naira note, I will say please I told you, I don’t have change.

And maybe you are trying to raise conflict; people around you will advocate that ‘she told you that she didn’t have change. Where do you want her to get the change from?”

“And you know, may be some people are frustrated as a

result of disappointment. Then they will want to transfer the aggression on you. Like this “Nyanya-Berger” road is N80. Some people will still want to argue with you that it is N50. So people will say that did you hear this lady when she said N50? She never said N50. She said N80. So, you can see from there people will advocate for you”.

But Ohiani is not the only female graduate in this job. She has a colleague Habiba Tanko, also a graduate from College of Education Minna. She said “I feel to work as a female conductor is normal and as good, a job. I meet different kinds of people and characters. When I meet angry people, I greet them, and that neutralizes anything in their mind. Through this job, I have been able to pay my school fees and provide for my parents. And they are always happy about it, praying for me”, she says.

Habiba does not drag passengers with her male colleagues as everyone has his designated bus stop.

Again, 27-year-old Onyimomowo Sule is also a graduate of FCT College of Education, Zuba. She had taught before going into bus conducting. She says, “I taught in Bright Kiddies Academy in Mararaba. Then, I used to go there from One-Man-Village. The payment was so poor. That is why I joined Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company.”

source: Daily Trust

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