Lagos drivers lament extortion, threaten to boycott roads
Lagos drivers, under the aegis of Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria, have threatened a boycott of roads from October 31, 2022, over alleged extortion by motor parks and garages management.
In a statement made available to The PUNCH on Friday, JDWAN called for seven days mass protest and total boycott, seeking an end to what it described as excessive extortion and harassment of drivers at various bus stops, garages and parks in Lagos, and asked the government to intervene.
They listed the points of alleged extortions to include: Badagry, Mile 2, Seme, Ogijo, Ikorodu, Ikeja, Agric Bus Stop and many parts of the state, saying they paid as high as N5000 and N7100 at some places.
The statement was signed by JDWAN’s National Leader, Chairman, Secretary and Assistant Secretary; Akintade Abiodun, Opeyemi Suleiman, Ajimatanarareje Feyisayo, and Taofeek Hassan respectively.
“This is to notify members of the public and the Lagos State Government over multiple and excessive extortions by the motor parks and garages management.
“We have been sentenced to the extortion and violent harassment by the state transport agencies – Lagos State motor parks and garages management and Lagos State caretaker committee.
“On a daily basis, we lose half of our income to the motor park boys; we pay exorbitant charges in the garages and at every bus stop where we drop off passengers; either we pick up passengers or not, we pay morning afternoon and night. Some routes have 25 bus stops which also serve as illegal tax collection avenues,” the statement partly read.
“We crave the indulgence of the public to go through the meticulous breakdown of this unprecedented level of extortion we go through below:
“From Badagry to mile 2, we pay N3500 & N5000 apart from 25 illegal tolling/ticketing by motorpark hoodlums who collect N200 to N300 per bus.
“From Seme in their park, they do collect N7100 in the morning before loading our buses yet we are still subject to illegal collection on the highway.
“On Federal Mass & Coaster, we pay over N12,000 on each trip from Oko Afo to CMS or to Oyingbo which includes loading charges and illegal payments at several bus stops till we get to our destination.
“From Ogijo to Ikorodu, we pay over N5500 per day. Garage Ticket – N850, chairman ticket – N1700, king’s levy N200, Ita Oluwo N500, Odo Gunyon – N1200, Ile epo oba – N200. We also pay N900 for passing by, either you pick up passenger or not.
“At Ikorodu roundabout, we pay N1000 in the morning and afternoon and we pay N500 naira in the evening which makes is N2500.
“At Benson bus stop, we pay N900 for a whole day loading at 300 naira each for morning, afternoon and evening.
“At Agric bus stop, we pay N200 to eight motor park thugs, it is called welcome to Agric tax. When we stop to load for passengers at agric bus stop, we pay extra N300 which isn’t part of the N1600 welcome to agric tax.
“When we get to Aunty Kenny Bus Stop, we pay N200 before buying Lagos State ticket for N500.
At ogolonto bus stop we pay N100, at mile 12 bust stop, we pay N500 for plying the expressway and N1000 for plying service lane (for buses en route Yaba Oyingbo) .
“From mile 12 to Ojuelegba, buses pay N1500, for red coaster buses pays 2000 naira respectively.
“Red buses from korodu to Oshodi pay N5000 to motor park boys in the morning and afternoon.
“At Ketu bus stop, we pay N600 to N1000 depending on the size of the bus, for just dropping off passengers or picking up any single one.
“For buses plying Yaba to Ikeja, we pay N200 at Jibowu bus stop, total bus stop- N100, fadeyi N100, Onipanu N200, Elediye N200 naira, Palmgrove N200, Anthony N100, and Ikeja N200; totalling N1300,” they said.
“On our way back to Yaba, Palmgrove & Onipanu is N500, Fadeyi & total N500, Yaba N200; with LASG N800 ticket, it makes total of N3300 in the morning alone. We pay N2000 each in the afternoon and evening, which makes it total of N7300 daily.
“Korope plying lyana iba-Okoko to Agbara are paying N5000 per day to motor park boys without the extra LASTMA & police department & Lagos Task Force daily extortion,” the statement added.
The drivers also lamented arrests, saying “When we resist the extortion, we get arrested and pay N10,000 for bail to the police while the motor park boys go scot free, and we also have to bail our buses separately.
“Lagos drivers also pay for entertainment, security, unit chairman’s food and many other ridiculous levy with threat of violence at any slight refusal by the drivers.
“This is the exact case of the popular parlance on exploitation of labourers, “baboon dey work and monkey dey chop”. Lagos commercial drivers work like elephants and eat like ants while the urchins under the aegis of motor park workers take a large chunk of our earnings. We can hardly fulfil our contractual obligations with our business partners, feed our family or afford maintenance or repair of our vehicles.”
They listed their demands as follows:
1. No to charging drivers three passengers money after loading in parks or garages, we are demanding it should be one passenger’s money per bus.
2. We demand that only Lagos State Government ticket should be the only ticket in Lagos, others e.g Lagos State parks & garages management, Lagos State care taker committee are not acceptable to all drivers in Lagos State.
3. We kick against paying motor park thugs at every bus stop. All illegal money paid after we leave the garages and parks should be abolished immediately.
4. Harassment by law enforcement agencies & intimidation with guns, Cutlass, broken bottles by LASTMA, task force & RRS must end immediately. They collaborate and hire thugs to attack and extort us every day without violating any law.
5. We have lesser bus stops for commercial vehicles. Most bust stops in Lagos are strictly assigned officially to brt buses only and we get arrested for dropping off passengers at existing bus stops which are known to commuters as official bus stops for decades. We demand that the Lagos State government should provide official bus stops in each community to avoid incessant arrests and stress for commuters who complain of having to trek several kilometres back to their bus stops.
They also called on the Lagos State Government to quickly respond and avert the current anomaly.
“Failure to adhere to these demands will only attract more protest and total boycott. JDWAN is resolute in pursuing justice by all legitimate and peaceful means available,” the statement concluded.