Uber drivers protest as VIO clampdown intensifies in Lagos
Some Uber drivers on Monday marched on the office of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Services (VIS), protesting the recent clampdown on their operations on Lagos roads.
VIS officials said the drivers must have hackney permit, Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) certification and that Uber must pay the operator license fee to the state government.
“Uber and Taxify offices were closed. When the drivers got to VIO’s office in Ojodu, none of the officials came out to talk to them,” a Uber driver Adegoke Faloye told The Guardian on Monday.
VIS officials told The Guardian last week that the enforcement of already existing laws guiding the operations of professional drivers in the state began recently.
But a spokesman for Uber in West Africa Efosa Aiyevbomwan said the office was opened on Monday.
Aiyevbomwan at the weekend said he was not aware of the drivers’ plan to protest. He said Uber was open to engaging the drivers to understand their concerns.
During the protest, Faloye said VIO officials ordered security officers to send them away.
He attributed the clampdown on himself and other colleagues to noncompliance to government regulations by Uber and Taxify.
“Uber and Taxify needed to do the right thing to government since 2016. Government had written to them and decided to stop them since they did not comply,” Faloye said.
Despite being on the receiving end, Faloye said their complaints to Uber has been ignored except a recent memo that surfaced on the application telling them to be calm.
“There was a circular that was sent via the app that they were aware of the crisis. They said they have an agreement with VIO office not to disturb us,” Faloye said quoting the message Uber drivers were sent.
In spite of the message, the driver said some of his colleagues were still stopped by the government officials on Monday. He said one of his colleagues had the side mirror of his vehicle broken by a VIS official.
He said the clampdown had forced many drivers to down tools to avoid embarrassment.
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