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30.10.2022 Featured Over Agberos’ Excesses, Lagos Commercial Drivers to Boycott Roads From Monday

Published 30th Oct, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

The Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN) has said that it will not back down from a seven-day boycott which will begin on Monday.

Akintade Abiodun, the National Leader of JDWAN, made this known in a statement on Sunday.

According to Abiodun, JDWAN met with the Lagos State Government’s representatives on Friday to report the abuses commercial drivers had been subjected to by the park unions, but the meeting yielded no fruit.

READ ALSO: In Lagos, Agbero Boys Beat Man to ‘Blindness’ for Not Showing His Ticket

“The Lagos state government has since made no concrete response to JDWAN demands, rather, their representatives only asked for another letter to be submitted on Monday, which is regarded as a joke on our part, having released a press statement with concise demands. We also honoured the demand to deliver physical copy of the letters to the Lagos State Government, the SSS, the commissioner of police and commissioner for transport respectively,” Abiodun stated.

“The retired AIG (Odumosu) also expressly said they couldn’t get rid of bus-stop-to-bus-stop extortionists because they are working for the state government. He also suggested that MC Oluomo could organise thugs to attack us and we would be blamed or credited for the violence, all in a failed fear mongering tactics. Also, the assistant to the minister for transportation threatened to arrest us and our lawyer while in their office.

“It is pertinent to note that there is an existing restraining court order, granted by Justice P.O LIFU of the Federal High Court Ikoyi against the Lagos State Government and all transport agencies, stopping them from ticketing, bus stop levies, motor park levies, dues and any form of extortion from commercial drivers with, suit no: FHC/L/CS/224/2022 between applicant barrister Olukoya Ogungbeje, Transport Union Society of Nigeria (TUSON) and respondents NURTW, RTEAN, NARTO, MUSILIU AKINSANYA (MC OLUOMO), MOHAMMED MUSA, LAWAL YUSUF OTHMAN, LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT, ARTTONEY GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE, INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF STATE SECURITY SERVICE.

“It is sad that the representatives of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu are mocking Lagos drivers’ predicament and are disinterested in stopping the major factor causing high cost of living in Lagos by asking for another letter and demanding that we call off the boycott without addressing our five demands.

“Drivers and commuters have had a brimful of extortion and harassment from the motor park management and caretaker committee thugs popularly known as Agbero. It is also visible to the blind in Lagos that the cost of goods and services is a consequence of Agbero’s extortion, as no goods can be delivered and 95% working class resident can be transported without the service of commercial drivers. The unfettered and violent extortion by the Lagos government agents has not only increased transportation fare beyond the affordability of workers but also made goods and services out of reach of the poor Lagosian.”

JDWAN is demanding that the state government obey the court order from Justice Lifu. The order forbids motor park thugs from collecting levies from drivers at every bus stop.

JDWAN also called for the end of harassment and intimidation of drivers on the road by law enforcement agencies such as the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS).

READ ALSO: REPORTER’S DIARY: In Lagos, Drivers Work, But Agberos Earn

“Lagos State Government should build and assign more bus stops for commercial use to avoid arrest by LASTMA for dropping off passengers at existing bus stops which are known to commuters as official bus stops,” Abiodun stated.

“Once again, we are calling all Lagos commercial drivers, commuters, civil society organisations and residents to observe the 7 days boycott on Monday 31st of October, stay at home and not ply any road for commercial purposes or block any road whatsoever. All drivers should enjoy their day with their families without extortion and violence of the Agberos of motor park management and caretaker committee since the government has refused to show any sign of stopping the state-approved extortion.

“We are also giving the Lagos State Government and the thuggish motorpark extortion agency a 7-day ultimatum to respond to our demands.”

JDWAN will undertake the boycott alongside Ibile Drivers Stakeholders Association of Nigeria (IDSWAN), Mega City Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (MCDWA), Federal Assisted Mass Transit Incorporation (FAMTI), Owners, Drivers and Conductors Association (ODCA), Commercial Bus Drivers and Owners Operators of Lagos (CBDOP) and Mini Bus Drivers Welfare Association (MNDWA).

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Published 30th Oct, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

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