Some commercial bus drivers in Lagos State on Wednesday took to the streets to express their displeasure at the exploitation and extortion the go through in the hands of touts and informal collectors of transport dues, known as ‘Agbero’ in the state.
The protesting drivers disrupted commercial and vehicular activities on the busy Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway on Wednesday, inflicting hardship on commuters plying the road.
The drivers are particularly furious about the extortion by touts at Toll-Gate area of the express which borders Ogun state.
Some of the commuters, who were left stranded and frustrated by the drivers, told newsmen that the protest was unfortunate as they inflicted unnecessary pains and sufferings on the masses.
Some commuters had to resort to trekking long distance to their destination.
Some of the protesters were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions, some of which read: “We are tired of Agberos extortion”, “We can’t continue working for Agberos”, among others.
Bimbo Apata, who works at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, said he had spent over two hours at the bus-stop waiting to get a bus, but all to no avail, adding that he had no choice but to resort to trekking to get to the office on time.
“The suffering was too much. People had to trek several distances because they could not get buses to their various destinations,” he said.
Another passenger, Yemi Ajegunle, described the commercial bus drivers protest as “uncalled for”.
According to her, it is the masses that will bear the brunt of the public demonstration and not those in power.
Ajegunle, a trader at Oshodi Market, who went to Abeokuta to buy goods that she sells, said on getting to the Toll-Gate area, the protesters asked the driver of the bus she boarded to drop all passengers.
“We were all stranded because we couldn’t go back and move forward.
“Many of us, especially those without any heavy luggage, started trekking to our destinations,” NAN quoted her as saying.
Ajegunle appealed to the concerned authorities to swiftly address issues raised by the protesters so that peace and sanity could be restored in the vicinity.
Sule Sanni, one of the protesters, said that the commercial bus drivers in Lagos were protesting against activities of the officials of the Lagos State Park and Gardens, headed by Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo.
Sanni said that they would continue with the protest until the government addressed the issue of ‘agberos’ extortion by touts and alleged maltreatment of its members.
He explained that they paid between N10,000 to N15,000 every day to the union, adding that the development was indirectly affecting them negatively.
“Our profit margin is being eroded on a daily basis as they collect money from us at all the bus-stops,” he said.
Discussion about this post