Commercial transport drivers in Lagos, otherwise known as Danfo drivers, on Monday shut down operations over alleged extortion.
“Drivers and commuters have had a brimful of extortion and harassment from the motor park management and caretaker committee thugs popularly known as Agbero. It is also visible to the blind in Lagos that the cost of goods and services is a consequence of agbero’s extortion, no goods can be delivered, and 95 per cent of working-class residents can be transported without the service of commercial drivers,” said the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria, in a statement issued to signal a seven-day strike which commenced on Monday morning.
“The unfettered and violent extortion by the Lagos government agents has not only increased transportation fare beyond the affordability of workers but also made every good and service out of reach of the poor Lagosians,” said JDWAN.
The drivers decried Mr Sanwo-Olu’s administration and the park management committee’s failure to respond to their concerns.
“We are also giving the Lagos state government and the thuggish motor park extortion agency a seven-day ultimatum to respond to our demands,” said the association.
The group added, “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.
The association stated that they also “honoured the demand to deliver a physical copy of the letters to the Lagos government, the SSS, the police commissioner of police and the transport commissioner, accusing MC Oluomo of threatening their members’ lives.
“it is sad that the representatives of Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu are mocking Lagos drivers’ predicament and are disinterested in stopping the major factor causing (the) high cost of living in Lagos by asking for another letter and demanding that we call off the boycott without addressing our five demands,” added the JDWAN’s statement.
“Harassment of law enforcement agencies and intimidation with guns, cutlass, broken bottles by LASTMA, task force and RRS must end immediately,” JDWAN demanded.
“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.”