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Lagos denies demanding operational licence fees from Uber drivers

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Uber drivers protest in front of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Services office in Ojodu, Lagos.

Lagos State government has denied claims that it was demanding for N110,000 operational licence fees from Uber drivers.

Commissioner of transportation Frederic Oladeinde said the claim is “totally untrue, unsubstantiated, unreasonable and a ploy to win public sympathy.”

“Uber operators are out to make mischief as they would not tell the public that their members whose vehicles were apprehended contravened one law or the other,” Oladeinde added.

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This comes days after Uber drivers and drivers of other popular ride-hailing companies marched on the office of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Services (VIS) to protest the alleged recent “crackdown” on their operation.

But two officials of the VIS who spoke with The Guardian last week said the recent they were enforcing of already existing laws guiding the operations of professional drivers in the state.

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Uber drivers, he said, must have hackney permits since they use their vehicles for commercial purposes. He also said Uber has also not paid an operator license fee to the state government.

“You need to have what we call operator license, which Uber was supposed to pay to the government,” the official said in a telephone conversation with an Uber driver. The Guardian has a record of that phone conversation.

“Uber has no operator license,” the VIS officer said.

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A claim that is contrary to the commissioner’s.

Oladeinde rather said the VIS is only facilitating compliance with the “Road Traffic Laws by ensuring motorists possess the stipulated vehicle documents, such as Roadworthiness, Vehicle Licence, Drivers Licence, Insurance Certificate, Hackney Permit and the Lagos State Drivers Institute (LASDRI) card for all categories of commercial commuter vehicles.”

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He said almost 1,000 vehicles have been impounded for various offences across the state in the last three weeks.

“Twenty Uber vehicles are among those impounded,” he said.

Moses Ndubuisi, a Uber driver, said he was asked to pay N60,000 into the government’s account before his car was released.

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