Benue Links Nigeria Limited, BLNL
Opp Access bank Wurukum, Makurdi.
Makurdi, Benue 23444
By 1983 when the Buhari regime ousted the Shagari Presidential administration, the economy of the nation was in a very bad shape and so restrictions were imposed on various items, which included among others, vehicles and vehicle spare parts. This resulted in the rise in prices of vehicles and vehicle spare parts which raised the operational cost of vehicles. Transportation service were offered by rickety vehicles which had no regards to safety, reliability and comfort. Fares were revised upwards almost on a daily basis on short distances and the private operators restricted their services only to routes they found remunerative.
To revolutionize the nation’s socioeconomic development pattern, a committee of experts was set up in 1986 to examine, review and recommend a comprehensive and appropriate transport policy for Nigeria. The committee’s report led to the evolution and adaptation of the nation’s current transport system, named the ‘Federal Urban Mass Transit Programme, FUMTP’.
Against this background, Benue Links (Nigeria) Limited, BLNL was established share capital of One Million Naira (N1 Million) as a limited liability company by the Benue State Government, with the specific task of implementing the Federal Urban Mass Transit Programme, FUMTP in Benue State. As Originally conceived, the Mass Transit Programme is a joint Federal and State Government Programme. While the former provides logistic support, operational guidelines and technical assistance to states, the latter are responsible for the actual delivery of transport services to the traveling public through the operations of their respective State-Government-Owned Mass Transit Agencies. Thus Benue Links (Nigeria) Limited, like its counterparts in other states operates under the operational guidelines of FUMPT. The existing cordial relationship between Benue Links (Nigeria) Limited and FUMPT has enable the company benefit from various forms of assistance, notably vehicle allocation, workshop tools and equipment, occasional allocation of vehicle spare parts, grant for site improvement and a host of others.
It is worth noting that after incorporation in 1988, Benue Links suffered several structural and administrative changes. The transport company started operations under a task force of Urban Development Board. Few months later, ministry of Commerce and Industry. The appointment of a Chief Executive took place almost nine months after inception when a Sole Administrator was named. The status of the Chief Executive was metamorphosed to General Manager in 1989 and again upgraded to Managing Director in October, 1992 to reflect Government’s changing perception and expectations of the company.
From all indications, the lack of continuity in administration and leadership is likely to have some repercussions on other major areas bordering on the company’s ability to live up to its mandate. It is clear that there was no serious preliminary/feasibility study before the company was established. Key decisions such as the site on which the Company would commence operations, type of vehicle to be used, calibre of staff to be hired and so on, were not based on any systematic assessment of the needs of the transport industry in general and particular circumstances of Benue Links (Nigeria) Limited.
As part of its contribution to the successful execution of the programme, the Federal Government of Nigeria through Federal Urban Mass Transit Authority, FUMPTA, supplied as a loan Nineteen (19 bus units to the Benue State Government.
These buses which arrived Makurdi in September, 1988 consisted of:
- Ten (10) Mercedes Benz of 0365 Buses
- Five (5) Peugeot J5 Buses, and
- Four (4) Units of Nissan Buses
These buses were supplied at a total cost of N3.142,152 million and the loan was to attract an interest of 3% over Six (6) years with a grace period of one year.
Ten years later in 1998, the fleet size of Benue Links is made up of Thirty One (31) vehicles comprising of:
- Four (4) Units of 1414 Mercedes Benz,
- Six (6) Units of 509 Mercedes Benz,
- Four (4) Units of 608D Mercedes Benz,
- Eleven (11) of Toyota Hilux pick-up Vans,
- One (1) Unit of Isuzu (Jumbo) Bus acquired by the company at the cost of N7.2 million, and
- Five (5) units of 750 DM lance.