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Commuters stranded as commercial drivers begin 7-day strike

By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos

The seven-day strike declared by a union of commercial drivers in Lagos State kicked off with partial compliance.

Despite the partial compliance by the drivers, many commuters felt the negative effect of the road boycott as they were stranded at their various bus stops.

The strike embarked upon by the union was due to the alleged extortion by the men of the park management system in the state.

Recall that commercial drivers in the state under the aegis of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN) had declared a seven-day boycott of transport services in protest against arbitrary levies imposed on members by the state government.

Daily Sun observation in Ikorodu, Ikeja, Obalende, Oworoshoki, Berger and Oshodi showed that some drivers still come out to load passengers while others stay away from the roads.

The scarcity of commercial buses on the roads, however, led to fare hikes by a few drivers who were working.

Due to fare hikes and rushing for buses, many commuters were stranded at their different bus stop.

Many people condemned the state government for failing to address the issue raised by the drivers.

Among those who expressed their feelings to Daily Sun on the development were Jamiu Adetubo, a staff of an insurance company in Victoria Island.

He said it is very sad that the state government deliberately decided to punish Lagosians by failing to address the issue raised by the drivers’ union.

Adetubo said the state government could not deny the allegations raised by the drivers’ union but claimed innocent on the issue.

He called Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to rise up to his mandate and put an end to excesses and extortion of commercial transporters by law enforcement agencies and touts who are operating as agents of the government.

Also, Bolaji Akinyosoye also called on the state government to pity the commuters who were suffering for the action of the drivers.

She said the excess of tout popular known as Agbero is too much on the roads.

Meanwhile, the state government yesterday in its reaction to the development yesterday, disclosed that is already looking into the demands of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), with a view to finding permanent solutions to the issues raised by the association.

Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Transportation Sola Giw announced the commitment of the state government to find a lasting solution to the issue raised by JDWAN in a press statement yesterday.

He said the move becomes necessary following the ongoing seven-day job boycott by the drivers over alleged “harassment and extortion by motor parks and garages management”.

“Sequel to the announcement by JDWAN to embark on a seven-day strike starting from 31st October 2022, the Ministry of Transportation invited its leadership to a meeting on Friday 28th October 2022, despite its non-affiliation to any of the transport unions known by the state government, ie NURTW and RTEAN.

“Most of the union members at the meeting were from the Badagry axis and it was resolved that the meeting be adjourned till Wednesday, 2nd November 2022 to have a larger house (the unions inclusive) and resolve the matter amicably.

“The outcome of the 2nd November 2022 meeting will be made known to the public.

“The state government urges drivers to continue their daily routine without fear of molestation and intimidation as security agencies have been directed to maintain law and order.

“Those who are taking advantage of the situation to raise fares are warned to desist from doing so or face the consequences of their illegal actions,” the statement read in part.

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