15 December 2012

Nigeria: Female Conductor Says She's Prepared to Receive Insults

Do our women truly deserve to be conductors? Here is a true life story of a young lady, who has learnt a trade but constrained to be a bus conductor. EKAETTE ETUKUDO writes.

Mrs. Charity Ajoga, a twenty seven year-old mother of two is a female conductor, who lives at Masaka in Nassarawa state. She is an SSCE holder, who desires to further her education as soon as her financial capacity increases.

Ajoga, the mother of two, who spoke to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, said "I have been on this conductor job since last year because as a mother of two, it is not easy for my husband to carter for all the needs of the family, so I started this job March last year to support my husband in meeting the family's needs.

My husband encouraged and supported me on the job, which has helped boost my morale. After my Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, (SSCE) I learnt a trade, hairdressing precisely but I could not afford to set up my own salon neither can I afford to further my education, so I took to this conductor job. I prefer the conductor job to prostitution and stealing because I know that one day, God Almighty will visit me at his own appointed time."

Ajoga added that the conductor job was in fact a miracle, as she was jobless for months before a friend introduced her to the National Union of Road Transport Agency that finally employed her and gave her a means of supporting herself and her family.

Initially when I started the job, the Union promised to pay me N15, 000 monthly, which they did for the first three months; afterwards they said I will be getting three per cent of whatever I make every day as my take home pay daily, to which I obliged.

As a female conductor and a married woman, I am confronted with lots of challenges from my passengers every day. I am always prepared to receive insults and embarrassment from them because that is part of what my job and duty entails. I have no other alternative other than to tolerate them, even though I try to console myself, sometimes I over react because I am human.

As a mother and a wife, I have to put my education behind me for now and face my children's education until I am able to save up enough money or get a better paid job. She concluded her story by saying "I have not lost hope, I belief one day fortune will smile at me.

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