Maiduguri - The Borno Government on Sunday presented 450 vehicles to members of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
Speaking at the presentation in Maiduguri, Governor Kashim Shettima said the initiative was to cushion the effects of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on commercial vehicle operators in the state.
The vehicles comprised of 400 Sharon buses and 50 Golf Salon cars.
He said that beneficiaries were expected to repay only 50 percent of the total cost of the vehicles.
"Each of the Sharon buses was purchased at a cost of N1.1 million.
"But the beneficiaries are to repay only N550,000 to the government through their union officials over a monitored period,'' Shettima said.
He said that the Golf cars were purchased at the cost of N650, 000 each, but the beneficiaries would pay only 50 percent of the money.
"Since the state started facing the challenges of insurgency in 2009, one group that has remained a silent victim is the NURTW.
"Countless number of commercial drivers who are members of the unions have lost their lives on account of moving people from one point to another," the governor said.
He expressed the belief that the initiative would boost the commercial transport sector in the state which had been affected by the insurgency.
"We all know that once vehicles, especially commercial vehicles connecting states are off the roads, then a society is brought to a halt.
"This is because more than 70 percent of persons all over Nigeria depend on commercial transport for mobility of trade, social and cultural activities,'' he said.