Bus Drivers Ground Transport In Parts Of Lagos Over Task Force Extortion, Harassment
By Centus Nweze
Parts of Lagos experienced transport difficulties after Mini-bus drivers, on Wednesday took to the street protesting what they discribed as extortion and harassment by men of the Lagos State Motor Traffic Division (MTD) from Ministry of Transportation.
The drivers began their protests at about noon at the Omole/Agidingbi junction. In no time, bus drivers plying other routes were forced to join in the picketting to the chagrin of passengers.
For instance, they forced Agege and Berger bound commuters in commercial mini-buses to disembark and conscripted the driver to join the protest.
The only placard on display by the protesting drivers read, “We are not robbers but a commercial driver. Help LASG!
Tunde, one of the drivers, said, “I was forced to pay N50,000 for an offence I do not understand or committed. I was in traffic along Ogunusi road and suddenly they pounced on me alleging that I flouted traffic regulation. All entreaties by passengers that absolved me of any wrongdoing failed as they forced me into their office and collected N50,000 for no reason. We are not opposed to their legitimate operations as a task force.”
Another driver, Samson Timothy appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajde Sanwo-Olu to help mini-bus drivers remain in business, saying that collecting money with force and embarrassment often suffered by passengers has reached a peak that is no longer tolerable.
“How do I explain to the owner of the bus I drive that I paid N20,000 to the task force for no reason. Sometimes they mingle with passengers at bus stops to secure a seat. They will later hold the driver to ransom over charges no one could explain.
“This extortion must end in Lagos. We are tired because they are making more money than we realize daily. Sometimes they beat up a driver that puts up a resistance.
“Should the government fail to act and put an end to the molestation, we will fight back fiercely. We are also struggling to make a living. We should not be disturbed by the illegal activities of the MTD men. We are just trying to survive after the #EndSARS protest and COVID-19 lockdown. We need help from Governor Sanwo-Olu to save us,” he added in tears.
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