…lament extortion on Lagos roads
The Joint Drivers Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), Lagos State Chapter, on Friday, said that their proposed seven days warning strike meant to kick off on Monday, October 31, 2022, remains sacrosanct.
The joint drivers disclosed this at a press briefing, which was held at the Right’s House, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos State.
Those expected to participate in the upcoming strike are drivers of minibuses (Korope), coaster buses federal Mass Assisted Transit, Mazda buses, T4, LT, Ford and cars who will remove their vehicles off Lagos roads for one week.
Addressing the press conference, the Lead Counsel to the drivers, Ayo Ademiluyi, said the strike action is necessary to protest multiple extortion and violent harassment by members of Lagos State Parks and Management Committee led by Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo, in conjunction with law enforcement agencies in the state.
According to him, the drivers lose more than half of their income to the motor park boys through exorbitant levies in the garages and bus-stops whether or not they pick or drop passengers.
He kicked against the formation of the parks and garages committee saying this was not backed up by law.
In his address, the National Leader of the association, Comrade Akintade Abiodun said the multiple levies on the joint drivers by the garage boys and law enforcement agents have led to increase in the prices of food items in Lagos compared with other states, as consignments into the state are heavily levied by garage boys and touts who mount road blocks on Lagos roads to extort the drivers.
Narrating one of the ugly incidents the drivers experience in the hands of garage boys and touts, the General Secretary of the association, Ajimatanrareje Feyisayo recounted that a driver, Ademola Anisere was seriously injured and his vehicle damaged by garage touts in Badagry, about a month ago, for failure to remit the early morning levies at one of the bus-stops.
Anisere was said to be coming out of his home to pick passengers when some garage touts swooped on him and all his pleas that he was just starting the day’s work fell on deaf ears and he was beaten Black and Blue while his vehicle was damaged.
‘’70% of our daily earnings go to the coffers of garage boys and touts. From Badagry to Mile 2, we pay between N3,500 and N5,000 at 25 illegal tolls created by motor park hoodlums, who collect from N200 to N300 per bus.
‘’From Seme Park, we pay N7,100 before the first trip, yet, we forcefully pay levies at the 25 illegal tolls. On federal mass and Coaster buses, we pay N12,000 and above on each trip from Oko-Afo to CMS which includes loading charges at various bus-stops.
‘’from Ogijo to Ikorodu, we pay N5,500 and above excluding garage ticket (N850), chairman ticket (N1,700), King’s levy (N200), Ita-Oluwo (N500), Ile-Epo-Oba (N200) and N900 for picking or dropping passengers.
‘’red buses from Ikorodu to Oshodi pay N5,000 while buses plying Yaba to Ikeja, Ketu to Oyingbo and several other areas are forced to pay beyond their nose to avoid their vehicles being damaged.
‘’To make the matter worse, the garage boys and touts have the backings of the state government to unleash terror on innocent drivers. We are professional drivers but garage boys and touts are making life unbearable for us. They are usually on the road with sticks, rods, pipes and cutlasses to snuff life out of innocent drivers’’ He added.
The State Chairman of the association, Opeyemi Sulaiman urged the government to look into the yearnings of the drivers before it is too late. ‘’We are professional drivers, garage boys and touts are not licensed but are battle ready to cause chaos on the roads. We have reported them to gthe state government on several occasions but nothing was done,’’
Ademiluyi listed the demands of the drivers to include: Scrapping of unlawful levies across the state other than that of the state government, the state government to present a proof that the parks and garages committee is backed by the law and creation of more bus-stops for Lagos transporters apart from that of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).