Reduce Agbero, multiple levies as our palliative, transporters tell Lagos govt
To cushion the effect of subsidy removal and ensure reduction of transport fares, Lagos commercial bus drivers and tricycle operators have urged the state government to reduce the number of Agberos and their collection points on the roads.
Some of them, who spoke to The Guardian, said the plea by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for operators to reduce their fares and the recent reduction of transportation fares by 50 per cent in the state, would not achieve the desired results if Agberos are still allowed in their numbers.
A driver, Daniel Chibuzo, popularly known as Celebrity Danfo Driver, lamented that the union gets the larger part of what drivers work for.
“There has not been any significant change in the amount we pay as tolls; what happened was the reduction of the amount charged for the Lagos State consolidated informal transport levy for transporters in the state, from N800 to N600 after the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) called on transport workers to join the protest; they reduced it because they didn’t want driver to join the protest.
“Apart from that, other collections are still intact; the union sells a ticket of N200 in Ojuelegba and another N200 ticket in the same spot. I collect two extra tickets of N200 each, two tickets around Adelabu Road and we must pay this money. Agberos still waits at every bus stop to collect between N100 and N200.
“Our work is no longer the way it used to be. The number of passengers is reducing, but we still pay a lot on tickets and other collections. We are working but not enjoying the profit, no result to show for the efforts. Agberos do not want to reduce the amount they collect but increase it.
“I drive a mini-bus (Korope) and I charge N300 per passenger and in total, N2,100. I pay N500 per loading to Agberos. So, it’s tiring but I can’t do anything. I pay N5,500 to the Agberos every day and I go home with little,” he said.
Also, a tricycle rider in Lagos Island, Ibrahim, said: “I pay N1,500 for tickets every day including Saturday and Sunday. Apart from that, Agberos collect N200 at every bus stop and every time they see us conveying passengers. They collect N200 at UBA, N100 at Kagawa, N200 at Martins, and another N200 at Obalende.”
When asked why the riders did not protest, he said: “We can’t protest because most of the Keke (tricycle) belong to the chairmen of the parks and junctions. 50 per cent of the Keke on the roads belong to them, so, they will retrieve the Keke if we protest.
“We struggle to take home N3,000 after work because the bulk of the money goes to fuel and Agberos.”
Also, a tricycle rider plying Airport Junction to Canoe, Ejigbo, said: “MC Oluomo asked these guys to reduce the amount they collect from us and that in return we should reduce charges from N300 to N200, and we did, but they still did not reduce the charges, instead, they have increase them.
“A rider pays not less than N3,000 daily; they give us a ticket of N100 but N700 is the actual amount they collect from us, and we can’t complain. MC Oluomo spoke about reduction, but he didn’t set up a taskforce to monitor the implementation.”
Speaking with The Guardian, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Abdulhafiz Toriola, said: “I can’t confirm if the number of members of the union has increased. We have been working to ensure that they collect their dues without causing traffic on the road.”
When asked where the money collected by the union is remitted, he said: “They collect the dues for the welfare of their members. They were not empowered by the Lagos State government. We only ensure that they work within the ambit of the law that empowers them to collect dues from their members.”
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