Extortion: Seven-day boycott begins Monday, Lagos drivers insist
The leadership of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria has reiterated the commitment of its members to embarking on a seven-day boycott of Lagos roads, beginning from Monday, October 31, 2022, over the alleged extortion by the motor parks and garages management in the state.
JDWAN, noting that having met with the Lagos State Government representatives, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Transportation, Abdulhafiz Toriola, and the motor park management liaison officer, AIG Hakeem Odumosu (retd.), in the company of its legal adviser, Ayo Ademiluyi, on Friday, there has not been any concrete response to its demands.
In an earlier report by The PUNCH, the drivers listed the alleged extortion points within Lagos.
“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 copies of the letter to the Lagos State Government, the State Security Service, the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, and Commissioner for Transport.
“The retired AIG also expressly said they couldn’t get rid of bus stop extortionists because they were working for the state government. He also suggested that the chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as 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 transport commissioner threatened to arrest us and our lawyer while in their office,” JDWAN said in a statement signed by its National Leader, Akintade Abiodun, on Sunday.
JDWAN claimed that the alleged statement of threat by CP Odumosu that MC Oluomo could attack its members, “is already happening through one Sile Sekoni (aka burger) of Badagry Roundabout Motor Park Management branch, Jafo (Oniba of Iba) of the caretaker committee, Iba branch, Seyi Bamgbose (known as student) of Iyana Iba caretaker committee branch, who threatened to beat and kill drivers on Monday.”
“Lagosians must be aware that if anything happens to our drivers, the persons named above should be held responsible,” the national leader said.
Citing legal backing, JDWAN said, “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, or collecting bus stop levies, motor park levies, dues and any form of extortion from commercial drivers.”
It cited the case to be: Suit no: FHC/L/CS/224/2022 between applicant and lawyer, olukoya ogungbeje, Transport Union Society of Nigeria and respondents, the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, MC Oluomo, Mohammed Musa, Lawal Yusuf, Lagos State Government, the state Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, and the Director-General of the SSS.”
Reiterating their demands, JDWAN listed them as:
1. Obey the court order
2. We kick against paying motor park “thugs” at every bus stop. All illegal money at garages and parks must stop.
3. Harassment of law enforcement agencies & intimidation (allegedly with guns, cutlasses and broken bottles) by the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority task force & the Rapid Response Squad must end immediately.
4. The 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.
“Once again, we are calling all Lagos commercial drivers, commuters, civil society organisations and residents to observe the seven days boycott on Monday, October 31; 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 from the ‘Agberos’ (hoodlums) 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 a seven-day ultimatum to respond to our demands.
“JDWAN and all justice-loving citizens should remain law-abiding; refrain from blocking the roads, avoid violent confrontation and demonstrations,” the statement concluded.