Sequel to their early complaints about extortion by the motor parks and garages management, the leadership of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN) has warned that its members are set to embark on its seven-day boycott of Lagos roads, beginning tomorrow, Monday, October 31, 2022.
According to the Drivers association, their meeting with the Lagos state government since its first outburst has not yielded any results.
Headline News reports that JDWAN in a statement signed by its National Leader, Akintade Abiodun, on Sunday explained that they had met with various stakeholders in the state, like the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos Ministry of Transportation, Abdulhafiz Toriola, the motor park management liaison officer, AIG Hakeem Odumosu (retd.), but there hasn’t been any concrete response to its demands.
The JDWAN leadership had also revealed that the retired AIG told them that nothing could be done to get rid of the bus stop extortionists, popularly referred to as ‘Agbero’ because they were working for the Lagos state government.
The group also noted that the retired AIG warned them to desist from trying to stop the ‘Agberos because the chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, could organise thugs to attack them.
Recall that the association had last week complained about the level of extortion by the motor parks and garages management, saying the situation has been unbearable for its members.
The statement read in part “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, has 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 the 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.”
The drivers association however claimed that the AIG’s warning about MC Oluomo attacking them had started materialising, “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 a 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 group added.
JDWAN national leader continued that the group has gotten legal backing stating “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.”
The group furthered that “The case’s, Suit no: is 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.”
The drivers said it has prayed for the court for the following: “Obey the court order We kick against paying motor park “thugs” at every bus stop. All illegal money at garages and parks must stop. Harassment of law enforcement agencies and intimidation (allegedly with guns, cutlasses and broken bottles) by the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority task force and the Rapid Response Squad must end immediately.
“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 group noted.