Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State on Thursday distributed 655 subsidised tricycles and 154 commercial buses to 809 beneficiaries to provide employment and help ease transportation in the state.

Speaking during the flag-off and distribution of the buses and tricycles in Bauchi, Mohammed said the gesture was a fulfilment of one of his campaign promises, which was to empower the people of the state.

Mohammed said increasing the number of buses and tricycles operating in the state would help compliance with COVID-19 protocols and mitigate the spread of the virus.

“Today’s distribution is in fulfilment of our promise to the people of Bauchi state, to empower people who brought us to power.

“We also looked at the problems of COVID-19 and the need to enforce the NCDC protocol of social distancing, especially, in the transportation sector.

“This gesture is not for me to be praised, what we are doing is to make sure we do what ought to be done in order to reduce poverty and to provide employment,” Mohammed said.

The governor who urged the beneficiaries not to see the gesture as political patronage, explained that the buses and tricycles were released at a subsidised rate, and that they would pay back within a period of two years.

“We have conceptualised this programme to teach people how to fish. Beneficiaries should know that this is not a free political patronage.

“It is your right and you were carefully selected. Yes! We have provided subsidy, but you will pay within two years through Yankari Micro-finance,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Modibbo Ahmed, the State Commissioner for Cooperative and SME Development, said the governor had fulfilled his promise of providing 1,000 tricycles and commercial buses to the unemployed youths.

Ahmed said this would go a long way in making the beneficiaries self-reliant and employers of labour.

Malam Ismael Abdullahi, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Road and Transport Workers (NURTW), appreciated the governor for the kind gesture, saying the governor had succeeded in putting food on the table for the members of the union.

The governor had earlier distributed 345 tricycles on 24, July, 2020 in order to assuage the hardship caused by the ban of motorcycles in the state.