Africa’s busiest city Lagos may be at risk of an economic slowdown

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Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital may experience some economic challenges following the announcement that its primary source of public transportation may be unavailable.

The reports coming in indicate that commercial bus drivers in Lagos State under the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), have threatened to go on strike for 7 days, across multiple states over the excessive extortions by the management of parks and garages in the state.

A statement elaborating on the intense levels of extortion was released by the national leader of JDWAN, Akintade S. Abiodun; chairman, Opeyemi Sulaiman; general secretary, Ajimatanarareje A. Feyisayo and assistant secretary, Taofik Hassan.

The statement reads in part;

“The cost of transportation affects the cost of goods and services and consequently the cost of living, which has spiraled astronomically in Lagos State as a result of the effect of motor parks’ excessive and illegal ticketing and tolling at almost every bus stop.

We have been sentenced to extortion and violent harassment by the state transport agencies – Lagos State motor parks and garages management and Lagos State caretaker committee.

On a daily basis, we lose half of our income to the motor park boys. We pay exorbitant charges in the garages and at every bus stop where we drop off passengers, whether we pick up passengers or not, we pay morning, afternoon, and night. Some routes have 25 bus stops which also serve as illegal tax collection avenues.”

In the statement, the associated detailed how much bus drivers earn against how much they lose, noting that the revenue of commercial drivers is close to nothing.

“Lagos drivers also pay for entertainment, security, unit chairman’s food, and many other ridiculous levies with the threat of violence at any slight refusal by the drivers. This is the exact case of the popular parlance on the exploitation of laborers, “baboon dey work and monkey dey chop.” Read some parts of the statement.

“Lagos commercial drivers work like elephants and eat like ants while the urchins under the aegis of motor park workers take a large chunk of our earnings. We can hardly fulfill our contractual obligations with our business partners, feed our family, or afford maintenance or repair of our vehicles.

The association threatened that the 7 days protest is merely a warning shot, and failure of the Lagos State Government to adhere to their demand would cause a full-scale protest and total Boycott.

The demand made reads; “All illegal money paid after we leave the garages and parks should be abolished immediately. Harassment of law enforcement agencies & intimidation with guns, cutlass, and broken bottles by LASTMA, task force, and RRS must end immediately. They collaborate and hire thugs to attack and extort us every day without violating any law.”

We demand that the Lagos State government provide official bus stops in each community to avoid incessant arrests and stress for commuters who complain of having to trek several kilometers back to their bus stops.”

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