Women’s Rights violations is usually a debate due to religious, ethnic and cultural reasons. Farida was pregnant and a mother of two living in Nyanya, a satellite town outside of the Nigerian capital Abuja. She commuted daily to Abuja for work rising at 4am to get to work by 7am as she had to bathe and prepare food for her family. She joined long queues of passengers waiting to board a city bus service run by public company, Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company popularly called El Rufai bus. These buses charge NGN100 (approximately US$0.3) per passenger per trip. It is the cheapest transport service within Abuja, however fares over a month add up to a quarter of the average minimum wage and are thus unaffordable for many. Women, who more commonly work in the informal sector or do not receive an income, find fares a more significant challenge. The routes have neither designated waiting areas nor shelter spaces for commuters , and are very overcrowded.
Farida, like other women, the elderly and physically challenged persons, had no choice but to stand in queues with her toddler, for over 30 minutes daily, amidst the shoving and cursing from desperate co-passengers. Due to the limited number of buses plying Farida’s route in comparison to the number of users and the traffic gridlock, going home was always a challenge. She had to leave work early to be able to catch the bus. On occasions when Farida runs late, she walked down the unlit parking lot for these buses with her toddler close to her bosom. Without any visible security, she feared rape or assault dwelling in the shadows.
Sadly, in March 2012, five months into her pregnancy , Farida was on her way to the office and had to jostle with other passengers for a space. Finally, she managed to get one and at a cost. Halfway into the journey, she realised she was bleeding. Farida had to disembark and went straight to the hospital. She was treated and placed on rest for four days. Though Farida notified her office of this situation, she was sacked when she resumed one week later! Farida has since drifted between jobs and has given up hope of holding a job in the city, given her last experiences.
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