Drivers protest government’s directive to vacate Iyana-Isolo park
Some Lagos drivers under the aegis of Iyana-Isolo Transport Association have protested against Federal Government’s directive, asking them to move their park out from Iyana-Isolo.
The park is not far away from Iyana-Isolo under bridge, along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway Lagos. The drivers, comprising truck and taxi operators, who marched to Rutam House, headquarters of The Guardian Newspapers, Isolo, Lagos with placards, called on the Federal Government to reverse the decision.
Brandishing placards with different inscriptions, the drivers said a directive from the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, asking them to move out of the Iyana Isolo motor park, was ill advised.
One of the protesters, Mr. Joachim Tunde, said they had recently vacated Iyana-Isolo Under Bridge as directed by the Federal Government to the motor park for their daily businesses, but wondered why they are now being asked to leave the place because they want to plant flowers there.
Tunde pleaded with the Federal Government to have mercy on them and allow them to use the motor park because they do not have any other business to feed their families except driving.
Another protester, Isaac Gbadamosi, said moving out of the motor park will increase activities of touts in the area because it will deprive people their means of livelihood, especially the youths who are into driving business.
He said: “We plead with government to allow us to do our business. They have banned Okada operators and now they want to stop us from driving trucks, it will increase criminal activities among the youths in the area.”
Also, the vice chairman of the branch, Alhaji Salaudeen Taofik, said the motor park was given to them by Federal Ministry of Works and Housing along side with Lagos State government.
He claimed that drivers have been using it for over 25 to 30 years now and they have been remitting money into both the Federal and Lagos State governments’ coffers. He said: “They should not ban us from both under the bridge and the motor park. This is where we make our daily bread and feed our family. We all went to school, but there is no job and we do this work to earn our living. We do not have another place to move to.”
Taofik said they received a letter from office of the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, dated April 21, asking every truck drivers to vacate and stop all activities under bridges in Lagos State.
The Minister of Works and Housing gave the directive that ‘all activities under all bridges in Lagos State, which have constantly caused tremendous damage to the bridges structure should cease within seven days of this notice,’ the letter read.
Reacting to the protest, Alhaji Adekunle Adesina, who works with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing told The Guardian on phone that the place was marked for beautification, which is part of the road project that started from Liverpool, Apapa.
Asked if there is any other place provided for the drivers, he said: “I do not have a place to give to them. It is a Federal Government project, therefore they should go to Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and lay their complaints.
We have given them many months to move out, but it seems they are not ready to move out. The drivers have complained in many fora, but that cannot stop the project. We only give them time to relocate.
“We want to beautify the area from the Expressway down to Lagos State Polytechnic, therefore, there is no space there they could move to. The truck drivers should not take it personal with me. I do not have personal issues with them. I am only doing Federal Government work.”